North Korea’s Kim Jong-un meets South Korea’s Moon Jae-in in DMZ for historic peace talks

 In U.S.

Updated

April 27, 2018 19:49:07

Kim Jong-un has become the first North Korean leader to cross into the South since the signing of the Korean War armistice in 1953, attending an historic summit with his southern counterpart Moon Jae-in.

Key points:

  • Mr Moon also crossed briefly across demarcation line into the North
  • Mr Kim wrote “A new history starts now” in Peace House guest book
  • Leaders expected have planted a memorial tree at border truce village

South Korean President Mr Moon personally greeted Mr Kim with a handshake on the demarcation line in the border truce village of Panmunjom, in the demilitarised zone (DMZ) between the countries.

The leaders posed for a photo together before crossing the demarcation line hand in hand, kicking off the first leadership summit between the divided countries in more than a decade.

Mr Kim also invited Mr Moon to step briefly across the demarcation line into North Korea.

The meeting, aimed at ending their decades-long conflict and easing tensions over the North’s nuclear weapons program, comes weeks before Mr Kim is due to meet US President Donald Trump.

Mr Kim was accompanied by nine officials, including his sister Kim Yo-jong, who led the North’s delegations to the Winter Olympic Games in South Korea earlier this year.

The South’s delegation included Mr Moon’s ministers for foreign affairs, defence and unification.

The two leaders were handed flowers by a South Korean boy and girl from a village 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.

‘A new history starts now’

Mr Kim wore glasses and his trademark black Mao suit, while the rest of the North Korean delegation appeared in military uniforms or Western attire.

Mr Kim and Mr Moon then walked to the Peace House in Panmunjom.

“A new history starts now. An age of peace, from the starting point of history,” Mr Kim wrote in Korean in the book, dating and signing the entry.

During their private meeting, Mr Kim told Mr Moon he came to the summit to end the history of conflict and joked he was sorry for keeping Mr Moon up with his late-night missile tests, a South Korean official said.

Mr Kim told Mr Moon he would be willing to visit the presidential Blue House in Seoul, and wanted to meet “more often” in the future, the official said.

After talks lasting more than an hour-and-a-half behind closed doors, Mr Kim was driven back to the North side just before noon in a black limousine flanked by guards who ran alongside.

Crossing the border, the vehicle had to drive across a lawn, as there is not a road linking the two sides at that spot.

Mr Kim and Mr Moon are expected to jointly announce the outcome of their summit in a few hours.

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