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Inter-Korean Summit: Kim Jong Un crosses over to South Korea for first time

Apr 27, 2018 10:56 IST
Inter-Korean Summit: Kim Jong Un crosses over to South Korea for first time

In a historic first, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on April 27, 2018 crossed the border that separates the two Koreas at the demilitarized zone (DMZ) to enter South Korea, becoming the first North Korean leader to step into South Korean territory since 1953.

Kim was greeted by the South's president, Moon Jae-in. The two leaders smiled and shook hands after which they crossed over to North Korea briefly and then returned to the South, holding hands. Kim Jong Un declared "a new history begins now". The moment, a highly anticipated one, was streamed live in the South Korean capital Seoul.

The highest-level encounter is only the third of its kind since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. It took place as a part of the historic Inter Korean summit that began in the southern side of the truce village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarised Zone.

What is expected from the summit?

The full day of talks between the two Korean leaders is expected to focus on three main issues - denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, improving inter-Korean relations and achieving peace and prosperity in the Korean peninsula.

The talks are also intended to pave the way for another highly anticipated encounter between North's Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump.

High points of the meet

While speaking to Moon after crossing the border, North's Kim Jong Un said, "As I walked over here, I thought 'why was it so difficult to get here?' The separating line wasn't even that high to cross. It was too easy to walk over that line and it took us 11 years to get here."

According to reports, Kim Jong Un also apologised to Moon for interrupting his sleep following North Korea’s nuclear tests last year, when Moon had to convene security council meetings in the early hours of the morning.

“We won’t interrupt your early morning sleep anymore,” said Kim, reiterating an earlier promise to stop carrying out nuclear missile tests.

Kim also stated, “we should value this opportunity so that the scars between the South and North could be healed. The border line isn’t that high; it will eventually be erased if a lot of people pass over it.”

 Leaders of two Koreas meet in historic summit

Other Details

• The North Korean leader was accompanied by his sister Kim Yo Jong, who led North Korea’s delegation to the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.

• Kim received a full welcoming ceremony, including a military band in traditional dress which played the Korean folk song 'Arirang,' well known in both North and South Korea.

• The summit, the first for the two Koreas in over a decade, is the result of months of diplomatic negotiations on the part of South Korean leader Moon, who has been a longtime advocate of peace between the two Koreas.

• Being a significant diplomatic step, the summit was broadcasted live on screens across the South Korean capital of Seoul.

The first part of the summit lasted exactly 100 minutes and touched on issues of denuclearization, permanent peace and ways to improve relations between the two Koreas.

Background

• Just days before the summit, the North Korean leader had announced that the nation would suspend its nuclear and long-range missile tests and dismantle its only known nuclear test site.

• However, there is widespread scepticism about whether the leader is ready to abandon the hard-earned nuclear arsenal his country has defended and developed for decades, as what it says is a necessary deterrent against U.S. invasion.

• The two earlier summits held between the leaders of North and South Korea, in Pyongyang in 2000 and 2007, had failed to halt the North’s weapons programs or improve relations in a lasting way.

• Last year North Korea carried out its sixth nuclear blast, by far its most powerful,and launched long-range missiles capable of targeting the US mainland.

• The development was followed by widespread tension, especially between the US and North with both issuing threats of war.

 

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