With a single step, Kim Jong Un broke with decades of hostility and distrust to become the first North Korean leader to cross into South Korean territory since 1953.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in walk together at the border village of Panmunjom Friday.
The highly-choreographed summit is the result of months of diplomatic talks between the North and the South and every moment has been laden with symbolism and history by organizers.
But in a rare unscripted moment right after their first meeting on the demarcation line, Kim invited Moon to step into the northern side of the DMZ. “Maybe this is the right time for you to enter North Korean territory,” Kim said to Moon, who took him up on the invitation.
South Korean viewers in Seoul erupted at the warm greeting between Kim and Moon, with residents gathered around television screens across the city applauding and cheering.
“I didn’t think I would be able to see such things happening in my life. I am happy to be witness to history in the making,” local resident Kwak Eun-jung told CNN.
‘Why was it so difficult to get here?’
Before the talks started, North Korea’s young leader said he wanted to write a new chapter in Korean relations.
“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,” Kim told Moon and the gathered officials.
Moon praised Kim’s “courageous and bold decision” to sit down for talks during their morning meeting. “Over the past seven decades we weren’t able to communicate, so I think we can talk the whole day today”, Moon said, drawing laughs from Kim.
Kim received a full red-carpet welcome at the DMZ, including a military band in traditional dress which played the Korean folk song “arirang,” well known in both North and South Korea.
Signing a visitor’s book upon entering the Peace House, where negotiations took place, Kim wrote “a new history begins now” and “an age of peace, at the starting point of history.”
The summit is the result of lengthy and determined negotiating on the part of Moon, a longtime advocate of peace between the Koreas. It will also set the stage for the first meeting between a sitting US president and North Korean leader when Donald Trump and Kim meet in late May or June.
READ: Full declaration of North and South Korean summit
(CNN)Official translation provided by the Inter-Korean summit:
- South and North Korea affirmed the principle of determining the destiny of the Korean nation on their own accord and agreed to bring forth the watershed moment for the improvement of inter-Korean relations by fully implementing all existing agreements and declarations adopted between the two sides thus far.
- South and North Korea agreed to hold dialogue and negotiations in various fields including at high level, and to take active measure for the implementation of the agreements reached at the Summit.
- South and North Korea agreed to establish a joint liaison office with resident representative of both sides in the Gaeseong region in order to facilitate close consultation between the authorities as well as smooth exchanges and cooperation between the peoples.
- South and North Korea agreed to encourage more active cooperation, exchanges, visits and contacts at all levels in order to rejuvenate the sense of national reconciliation and unity between South and North. The two sides will encourage the atmosphere of unity and cooperation by actively staging various joint events on the dates that hold special meaning for both South and North Korea, such as June 15th, in which participants from all levels, including central and local governments, parliaments, political parties, and civil organizations, will be involved. On the international front, the two sides agreed to demonstrate their collective wisdom, talents, and solidarity by jointly participating international sports events such as the 2018 Asian Games.
- South and North Korea agreed to endeavor to swiftly resolve the humanitarian issues that resulted from the division of the nation, and to convene the inter-Korean Red Cross Meeting to discuss and solve various issues including the reunion of separated families. In this vein, South and North Korea agreed to proceed with reunion program for the separated families on the occasion of the National Liberation Day of August 15 this year.
- South and North Korea agreed to actively implement the projects previously agreed in the 2007 October 4 Declaration, in order to promote balanced economic growth and co-prosperity of the nation. As a first step, the two sides agreed to adopt practical steps towards the connection and modernization of the railways and roads on the custom transportation corridor as well as between Seoul and Sinuiju for their utilization.
- South and North Korea agreed to completely cease all the hostile acts against each other in every domain including land, air and sea, that are the sources of military tension and conflict. In this vein, the two sides agreed to transform the demilitarized zone into a peace zone in a genuine sense by ceasing as of May 1 this year all hostile acts and eliminating their means, including broadcasting through loudspeakers and distribution of leaflets, in the areas along the Military Demarcation Line.
- South and North Korea agreed to devise a practical scheme to turn the areas around the Northern Limit Line in the West Sea into a maritime peace zone in order to prevent accidental military clashes and guarantee safe fishing activities.
- South and North Korea agreed to take various military measures to ensure active mutual cooperation, exchanges, visits and contacts. The two sides agreed to hold frequent meetings between military authorities, including the Defense Ministers Meeting, in order to immediately discuss and solve military issues that arise between them. In this regard, the two sides agreed to first convene military talks at the rank of general in May.
- South and North Korea reaffirmed that non-aggression agreement that precludes the use of force in any form against each other, and agreed to strictly adhere to this Agreement.
- South and North Korea agreed to carry out disarmament in a phased manner, as military tension is alleviated and substantial progress is made in military confidence-building.
- During the year that marks the 65th anniversary of the Armistice, South and North Korea agreed to actively pursue trilateral meetings involving the two Koreas and the United States, or quadrilateral meetings involving the two Koreas and the United States and China with a view to declaring an end to the War and establishing a permanent and solid peace regime.
- South and North Korea confirmed the common goal of realizing, through complete denuclearization, a nuclear-free Korean peninsula, South and North Korea shared the view that the measures being initiated by North Korea are very meaningful and crucial for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and agreed to carry out their respective roles and responsibilities in this regard. South and North Korea agreed to actively seek the support and cooperation of the international community for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Republic of Korea State Affairs Commission
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
~ the people