Holding hands and listening to K-pop! Surreal scenes cap off historic meeting between Kim and Moon in South Korea as they vow ‘there will be no more war’ – and no more nukes
North Korean dictator greeted by President Moon after crossing military demarcation line on 38th parallel
Leaders are meeting at Panmunjom, the truce village where the Korean War armistice was signed in 1953
South Korea praised ‘sincere, candid’ talks and said leaders spoke about issues including denuclearization
They later embraced before signing a declaration that ‘there will be no more war on the Korean Peninsula’
Further talks will finish at dinner, with dishes painstakingly selected to emphasize unity between two Koreas
Donald Trump tweeted ‘KOREAN WAR TO END!’ adding US ‘should be very proud of what is now taking place’
Surreal scenes capped off the historic meeting between Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in today as they held hands and listened to Korean pop music during a lavish farewell ceremony.
Kim became the first North Korean leader to step into the South for 65 years as he and President Moon vowed ‘there will be no more war’ and agreed to ‘complete denuclearisation’.
The two sworn enemies exchanged a warm greeting at the 38th parallel in the truce village of Panmunjom before the pair held talks and planted a commemorative tree together. The dramatic meeting has been seen as a precursor to planned talks between Kim and US President Donald Trump next month.
This afternoon, Kim and Moon embraced warmly after signing a statement in which they declared ‘there will be no more war on the Korean Peninsula’. The two countries said they will push for talks with the US, and potentially China, to officially end the 1950-53 conflict, which stopped with an armistice and left the Koreas still technically at war.
They also agreed to rid their peninsula of nuclear weapons but did not provide any new specific measures outlining how to achieve the objective.
Kim said: ‘We are going to be one again, as we share the same history, the same language, the same culture, the same blood. We are going to happily look back at the hard times in the past when we achieve a new future. No pain, no gain. Let us go forward, step by step for the bright future together.’
The summit came to an end with Kim and Moon clasping hands and K-pop blaring during a bizarre farewell and photos of their meeting were projected onto a massive screen installed in front of the building where they met. Kim then boarded a black Mercedes Benz limousine that drove him back north.
It comes following a year in which North Korea, the South and the US traded increasingly bellicose rhetoric about nuclear war amid a series of atomic tests by Kim’s regime, but then dramatically softened their stances in the last few months.
A delighted Donald Trump tweeted this morning: ‘KOREAN WAR TO END! The United States, and all of its GREAT people, should be very proud of what is now taking place in Korea!’
In an earlier tweet, he had cautiously praised the talks, writing: ‘After a furious year of missile launches and Nuclear testing, a historic meeting between North and South Korea is now taking place. Good things are happening, but only time will tell!’
He also praised China, adding: ‘Please do not forget the great help that my good friend, President Xi of China, has given to the United States, particularly at the Border of North Korea. Without him it would have been a much longer, tougher, process!’
North Korea has placed its nuclear weapons up for negotiations. It has previously used the term ‘denuclearisation’ to say it can disarm only when the US withdraws its 28,500 troops in South Korea.
Kim and Moon announced after their summit that the Koreas will push for three-way talks including Washington or four-way talks that also include Beijing on converting the armistice into a peace treaty and establishing permanent peace on the Korean peninsula.
Moon Jae-in is due to visit Pyongyang this autumn while the two sides said they hope the parties will be able to declare an official end to the war by the end of this year.
They agreed to open a permanent communication office in the North Korean town of Kaesong, resume temporary reunions between relatives separated by the Korean War and will seek to expand civilian exchanges and pursue joint sports and cultural events.
The family reunions are expected to take place around August 15, an anniversary for both Koreas celebrating their peninsula’s liberation from Japanese colonial rule after the end of World War II.
This evening, Kim’s wife Ri Sol-ju crossed the border into South Korean territory to attend a summit dinner hosted by South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
She smiled as she shared a brief conversation with South Korean first lady Kim Jung-sook and said: ‘I’m happy to hear from my husband that the summit was a success. I hope things the two leaders do go well.’
Earlier, the leaders kept up a friendly demeanor during official talks inside the Peace House pavilion, with Kim joking to Moon that he would ‘stop interrupting his sleep’ with constant missile tests.
South Korea praised the first round of discussions as ‘sincere and candid’ and said the leaders also addressed denuclearization, the prospect of permanent peace and the fate of North Korean defectors.
At the historic moment when the two leaders shook hands across the Military Demarcation line that bisects the rivals, Kim said his heart ‘keeps throbbing’. The dictator then thanked Moon for meeting at ‘historic place’, to which he responded by saying the dictator had made a ‘very courageous decision’ to come to the South.
In his opening remarks, Kim said he was ‘flooded with emotion’ after crossing the military demarcation line, adding that it was ‘so easy’ making him wonder ‘why it took so long to do so after 11 years’. Kim also said during opening talks that he would like to visit Moon at his official residence in Seoul.
Speaking to the dictator at the Peace House, President Moon said the demarcation line was ‘no longer a symbol of division but a symbol of peace’.
Referring to Kim Jong-un, he added: ‘I would like to pay tribute to the courageous decision made by you – you have made a bold and courageous decision, so why don’t we make the bold and courageous decision to amicably discuss peace, to once again give a great gift to the whole humankind by achieving peace.’
As talks resumed after lunch, Kim and Moon poured a mixture of soil and water from both countries onto a pine tree they planted together. They also unveiled a stone plaque placed next to the tree that was engraved with a message saying ‘Peace and Prosperity Are Planted.’
The pine tree dates to 1953, the year the Korean War ended in an armistice. The soil and water were brought from the Koreas’ mountains and rivers.
The leaders then talked while walking unaccompanied on a nearby bridge before they are expected to resume the afternoon session of their summit at Panmunjom. Kim at one point was seen waving away photographers as he and Moon continued their talks sitting on chairs placed at the bridge.
Earlier Kim, donning his trademark dark Mao suit, had arrived by car before entering South Korea to meet President Moon at 9.30am local time (8.30pm EST/12.30am GMT).
The dictator emerged right on cue from a large building on the northern side of the border, walked down a wide flight of stairs and strolled confidently toward Moons to begin the historic meeting.
Smiling broadly and exchanging greetings, the two shook hands for a long time, looking from outward appearances like old friends. Moon had awaited Kim’s arrival at ‘Freedom House,’ a building on the southern side of the Demilitarized Zone.
As soon as Moon saw Kim come out, he walked to meet him at the border so that their handshake would be at the most symbolic of locations, each leader standing on his side of the military demarcation line.
Their hands still clasped, Moon invited the North Korean leader into the South over a line marked by a curb of concrete. Kim then gestured for Moon to step into the North. They both did, and then returned to the South together, hands held.
The North Korean leader was then met by South Korean children bearing flowers and a military honor guard before he headed into the Peace House to sign a guestbook, visibly out of breath.
‘New history starts from now, at the historic starting point of an era of peace,’ he wrote.
In an initial televised exchange, Kim said he was ready for ‘heartfelt, sincere and honest’ discussions with Moon, although he did not mention the issue of nuclear weapons.
‘I feel like I’m firing a flare at the starting line in the moment of [the two Koreas] writing a new history in North-South relations, peace and prosperity,’ Kim said.
He added: ‘Through today’s meeting, I hope we won’t go back to square one again, and the non-implementation of what is committed will not happen again.
He said he hoped both sides ‘can engage in good discussions on very important topics and come up with very, very good results’.
Moon responded that there were high expectations that they produce an agreement that will be a ‘big gift to the entire Korean nation and every peace loving person in the world’.
‘I believe our encounter is extremely important for all of us, and that means a huge burden on our shoulders,’ he said.
‘I guess we have ample time. We can discuss the whole day; over the past seven decades we couldn’t really communicate… Definitely we can talk the whole day.’
Kim also said he wanted to avoid a repeat of the past ‘where we were unable to fulfill our agreements’ – a nod to 1994 the North agreed to freeze its nuclear programme but the agreement then broke down.
The dictator, according to one translation, then said he wanted to ‘talk openly… so that the lost decade is not gone to waste’, apparently referring to the gap between the last North-South summit in 2007.
A version of what was discussed during the closed-doors section of the first round of talks was released by South Korea.
They said Kim made a reference to North Koreans defectors who have escaped the country in their thousands under his tyrannical rule.
Kim was quoted as saying: ‘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.’
The dictator normally expresses anger toward defectors and often accuses South Korea of abducting or enticing its citizens to defect.
Kim even had a joke about his decision to stop firing missiles – quipping that he ‘won’t interrupt your early morning sleep anymore’.