Holding hands with a smile, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean president Moon Jae-in met at the heavily fortified demilitarized zone between the countries in the first summit for the two Koreas in over a decade. The meeting, aimed at ending their decades-long conflict and easing tensions over the North’s nuclear weapons program, comes weeks before Kim is due to meet US president Donald Trump.
Moon greeted Kim at the military demarcation line at 9:30 am (0030 GMT), making Kim the first North Korean leader to set foot in the South since the 1950-53 Korean War. In an unplanned move, Kim invited Moon to step briefly across the demarcation line into North Korea, before the two leaders crossed back into South Korea holding hands.
The two were handed flowers by a South Korean boy and girl, residents of a village situated in the demilitarised zone.Walking on a red carpet rolled out for the two heads of state, the pair were met by a South Korean honour guard in historical costumes and playing traditional music.
Kim wore glasses and his trademark black Mao suit, while the rest of the North Korean delegation appeared in military uniforms or Western attire.
Kim stopped to sign a guest book in the South’s Peace House before the two leaders met for a private discussion. “A new history starts now. An age of peace, from the starting point of history,” Kim wrote in Korean in the book, dating and signing the entry.
Moon and Kim are expected to talk denuclearisation and exchanges between the Koreas and also will plant a memorial tree at the border truce village of Panmunjom.