Hailing a “new era of peace”, North Korea leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, sealed their talks on Friday with a joint declaration, and a bear hug, reaffirming their commitment to complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.
The historic summit also agreed to push for three or four-way talks involving the US and China to replace the Korean armistice with a peace treaty.
In his first ever speech to the world, standing outside the Peace House on the demilitarised border zone, Kim Jong-un first thanked Mr Moon and the South Korean people for their warm welcome.
“It took a long time for the two Koreas to come together and to hold hands and we have long waited for this moment to happen, all of us,” he said.
“As I stand here today I can see that South and North Koreans are the same people, they cannot be separated. We are compatriots… We should not be confronting each other, we are the same people and should live in unity. I hope we will be able to live very peacefully in the future, as soon as possible.”
He pledged his support for “permanent peace”, adding “we will adopt the Panmunjom declarations while the whole world is watching us. I believe the declaration…will never let us repeat our past mistakes.”
Kim expressed hope that one day South and North Korean citizens would be able to use the same road that he had to reach the summit.
“Panmunjom is a symbol of pain and suffering and division but it will turn into a symbol of peace. Using one language, one culture, one history South and North korea will be reunited as one country, thus enjoying everlasting peace and prosperity,” he said.
President Moon praised the “precious agreement and declared a “new era of peace”, pledging “there will be no more war on the Korean peninsula.”
“Today Chairman Kim and I have decided that complete denuclearisation will be achieved and that is our common goal,” he said.
In the actual declaration the two leaders vow “that they will not use any form of force against each other” and agree to strictly abide by the agreement.
The South and the North have also agreed to “gradually realise arms reduction when their military tension is removed and trust is practically established.”
The two sides also agreed to set up a liaison office, continue future talks and reintroduce the long-stalled reunions of families separated by the division of the two Koreas.
After announcing their declaration, Kim and Mr Moon joined their wives, Ri Sol-ju and Kim Jung-sook for a banquet.
“I’m happy to hear from my husband that the summit was a success,” said Ms Ri.
Both Kim and Moon will seek meetings with the United States and possibly China – both of them parties to the ceasefire – “with a view to declaring an end to the War and establishing a permanent and solid peace regime”, the statement said.
Moon would visit Pyongyang “in the fall”, the two leaders said, agreeing also to hold “regular meetings and direct telephone conversations”.
There would also be a reunion of families left divided when the Korean War ended, one of the most emotive issues for the people of the two countries.
World leaders reacted positively to the summit, with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe calling it “good news”.
Donald Trump also reacted positively to the meeting, saying: “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.”
In typical fashion, he followed it up with a Tweet that read: “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!”
The two men shook hands as they met for the first time at 9.30am local time, and Kim became the first North Korean leader to cross over to the southern side of the Demilitarized Zone since the Korean War ended in 1953.
Kim emerged from the Panmungak, the North’s symbolic building 80m north of border, with a large entourage including his younger sister, Kim Yo-jong.
Having embraced his counterpart on the border, which is marked out with slabs, the pair set about solving world peace.
After initial talks Friday morning, they broke for lunch in their respective countries before re-emerging for a ceremonial tree planting ceremony, which was laden with symbolism.
Kim and Moon planted a pine tree – standing for peace and prosperity – with soil and water from both countries.
The tree is said to have been seeded in 1953 – the year the Korean War ended.
They sat around an oval table, to symbolise there should be no distance between the two countries, and it measured 2,018mm to mark the year.
Other symbolic gestures included custom-made furniture, a walk over a footbridge and the food on the menu at Friday night’s banquet – attended by the leaders’ wives.
The images, broadcast live around the world, were highly emotional for the divided Korean peninsula, which never formally ended the Korean War of 1950-53.
In a vast press room a few miles from the location of the talks in Panmunjom, South Korean journalists gasped and applauded.
But on the streets of South Korea, protesters burned North Korean flags, and as the talks prepare to resume, little has been revealed of actual progress towards resolving one of the world’s most pressing security threats.
Trump says ‘good things are happening, but only time will tell’
Donald Trump has reacted positively to the meeting of Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in.
On Twitter Friday morning, he said: “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.”
In typical fashion, he followed it up with a Tweet that read: “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!”
Kim Jong-un’s bodyguards jogging alongside their leader’s limouside
Here’s a look back at the incredible moment the North Korean leader’s security team ran alongside the Mercedes carrying Kim Jong-un.
The dictator can be seen getting in the car and the team of suited bodyguards start walking alongside the limousine.
But as the car picks up pace, so do the guards, running in unison alongside it.
The symbolic menu for Kim and Moon’s banquet
A banquet and farewell ceremony is now underway before Kim returns to the North.
Pyongyang’s delegation will include Kim’s sister Kim Yo Jong, one of his closest advisers, who attended the Winter Olympics in the South in February as his envoy.
The North’s ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam, who accompanied Yo Jong to the Games, will also be part of the group, as will its foreign and defence ministers.
Here us a look at what’s on the menu:
Japanese Prime Minister welcomes summit and urges Kim to take ‘concrete action’
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has welcomed the historic summit, urging Pyongyang to take “concrete action” on the peninsula’s denuclearisation and other issues.
“Today President Moon Jae-in and Chairman Kim Jong Un held earnest discussions about North Korea’s denuclearisation. I want to welcome that as a positive move toward comprehensive resolution of various issues concerning North Korea,” Abe told reporters in Tokyo.
“We strongly hope that North Korea will take concrete action through this meeting and a summit between the US and North Korea,” he added.
The Kremlin praises Korea summit as ‘very positive news’
Russia on Friday praised a landmark summit between the leaders of the two Koreas as “very positive news”, saying direct dialogue on the divided peninsula was promising.
“This is very positive news,” President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
“Today we see that this direct dialogue has taken place (and) it has certain prospects,” he said.
The official talks come to an end as guests begin to arrive for banquet
The wife of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un arrived Friday for a banquet following a historic summit between North and South Korea, live TV pictures showed.
Ri Sol-ju has recently gained a growing political profile, accompanying Kim to key events at home and abroad.
Kim Jong-un insists he will not repeat the mistakes of the past
Kim Jong-un vowed the Koreas would promote peace and not repeat the mistakes of the past. Kim Jong-un and and Moon Jae-in have sealed their talks with a joint declaration, and a hug, reaffirming their commitment to the realisation of complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and pledging to turn their armistice into a peace treaty this year.
The Panmunjom declaration to achieve “peace, prosperity and unification in the Korean Peninsula” also pledges to resume family reunions and “halt all hostile acts”.
In an unprecedented speech to the world, Kim Jong-un vowed the Koreas would promote peace and not repeat the mistakes of the past.
President Moon declared a “new era of peace” had opened.
The North Korean leader promised to ensure that the agreement reached with the South would be implemented, unlike previous pledges.
The two Koreas will closely co-ordinate to ensure they did not “repeat the unfortunate history in which past inter-Korea agreements…fizzled out after beginning,” Kim said after the summit.
“There may be backlash, hardship and frustration on our way,” he added, “but a victory cannot be achieved without pain.”
Kim and Moon affirm commitment to denuclearisation of Korean peninsula
After talking privately this afternoon, the leaders of both countries have committed to a denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.
The pair embraced as it was announced the two Koreas are to seek a peace ‘regime’ to end the Korean War.
Moon also announced that he would visit Pyongyang later this year.
“South and North Korea confirmed the common goal of realising, through complete denuclearisation, a nuclear-free Korean peninsula,” they said in a joint statement.
Kim and Moon begin second round of talks… alone in the woods
The second round of talks are underway in Panmunjom after a morning of handshakes and discussion.
After the leaders planted a symbolic tree on the Military Demarcation Line, the pair retreated into the woods for their private talks.
Early indications suggest South Korea’s Moon is doing much of the talking, with Kim listening on behalf of North Korea.
Boris Johnson skeptical about North Korea toning down nuclear ambitions
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is welcoming the summit between the two Koreas but says he does not expect any great breakthrough that might curb North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.
Mr Johnson told reporters at Nato headquarters: “I am very encouraged by what’s happening.”
But he added: “I don’t think that anybody looking at the history of North Korea’s plans to develop a nuclear weapon would want to be over-optimistic at this point. But it is clearly good news that the two leaders are meeting. Absolutely.”
China hails ‘courage’ of the Korean summit
Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying hailed the “courage” of Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae-In, as the two leaders continued talks this afternoon, Jamie Fullerton reports from Beijing.
“We applaud the Korean leaders’ historic step and appreciate their political decisions and courage,” Hua said during a regular press briefing.
China, North Korea’s only political ally, borders the isolated country so is particularly keen for peace on the Korean peninsular. Kim visited Beijing last month for talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping: the first time the North Korean leader had met a head of state in person.
Earlier today Chinese state media called for the leaders to keep talks on track, saying: “As a main stakeholder, China has been dedicated to the development of peace on the Korean Peninsula and proposed a ‘dual-track’ approach – advancing denuclearisation and meanwhile establishing a peace regime, to relevant parties.
“It has urged all parties involved to promote smooth talks between the South Korean and DPRK [North Korea] leaders as well as the DPRK and US leaders in order to reach a political settlement on the Peninsula.”
The leaders re-emerge and the symbolic tree planting begins
In a summit already overloaded with symbolism, Kim Jong-un and President Moon Jae-in opted for a time-old favourite ahead of a second round of talks by jointly “planting” a tree, or at least throwing fresh soil at the roots of an existing pine, and freshening it with some water.
Kim kept Mr Moon waiting for a few minutes before dashing to the spot in his black Merc, this time causing his 12-strong security team to speed up from a relaxed jog to a mini-sprint.
Donning white gloves, the two leaders shoveled soil from South Korea’s Mount Halla and the North’s Mount Baekdu onto the base of a beautifully scuplted dome-shaped tree, before using green watering cans to freshen the ground with water from the South’s Han river and the North’s Taedong.
Leaving their aides behind, they strolled alone towards a nearby, 50m blue wooden footbridge, before sitting down to chat on a bench with a woodland backdrop.
The ceremonial planting on the Military Demarcation Line laden with symbolism, with the pine tree standing for peace and prosperity in an area synonymous with confrontation and division over the past 65 years.
The pine is a transplanted specimen said to have been seeded in 1953 – the year the Korean War ended.
After the tree planting is concluded, the second round of talks will continue.
The picture that tells a thousand words
There has been a lot of emphasis on the unscripted moment Kim took Mr Moon’s hand and led him across the border to North Korea. The highly symbolic – and unplanned – moment is likely to have raised the blood pressure of security on both sides. But it made for this memorable picture.
Break in proceedings
The summit will not officially resume until 4.30pm (8.30am GMT), a South Korean presidential spokesman has announced. It will begin with the ceremonial planting of a pine tree using soil and water from both countries, to symbolise “peace and prosperity”, and the two leaders will then walk across a footbridge over the official border line.
The next round of talks will be concluded with the signing of a joint declaration, the content of which is still being thrashed out.
At 6.30pm (10.30am GMT), a lavish banquet attended by Kim and his wife Ri Sol-ju and Mr Moon and his wife Kim Jung-sook will be preceded by a musical extravaganza featuring stringed instruments and songs from both North and South.
The songs will include a rendition of From Seoul to Pyongyang, about the reunification of the peninsula.
North and South ‘discussed denuclearisation and permanent peace’
After the first round of talks, Mr Moon’s spokesman has revealed that the two leaders have discussed denuclearisation and a permanent peace on the Korean peninsula.
“The two leaders had a sincere and frank dialogue over the denuclearisation and the establishment of permanent peace of the Korean peninsula and development of inter-Korea ties,” said Yoon Young-chan.
The leaders are expected to continue negotiations after their break for lunch on their respective sides of the border, before they dine together at a banquet on the southern side later this evening.
Mr Yoon has also confirmed that Kim’s wife, Ri Sol-ju, will come to Panmunjom at 6.15pm for the official banquet.
Activists burn North Korean flags
South Korean conservative activists have set fire to North Korean flags during a rally against the summit talks between the leaders of the two Koreas, AP reports.
Hundreds of activists gathered near the border village of Panmunjom to protest against the talks between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
They set on fire two paper North Korean flags with the images of Kim and his late father and grandfather.
They also chanted slogans including “Step down, Moon Jae-in!”
Honour guard outrage
The decision to greet Kim Jong-un with an honour guard after he stepped across the border into South Korea has been condemned by conservatives, who have described it as a “humiliation” to service personnel who are protecting the nation.
The honour guard was made up of representatives of the three branches of the military, army, navy and air force. Moon Jae-in, the South Korean president, is a former member of the special forces and saluted as he inspected the guard. Mr Kim, however, looked straight ahead as he walked along the red carpet.
Conservatives began a petition on the website of the Blue House against the decision even before Mr Kim crossed the border, quickly attracting more than 1,000 signatures.
“The event will not enhance the morale of South Korean soldiers”, one signatory said in a comment, according to The Korea Times.
“The decision is a humiliation to 600,000 South Korean soldiers who serve their military duty to protect the South from possible attack by the regime”.
“It is absurd for the South Korean military to hold an honour guard for a third-generation dictator of the regime at a time when soldiers from the South carry out military operations to fight against North Korea”, the poster added.
Kim ‘willing to go to the Blue House any time’
Kim Jong-un and President Moon mixed small talk with grand statements about working together to make the world a better place in their introductory remarks, according to Yoon Young-chan, senior secretary of communication in the South’s presidential office.
Mr Yoon confirmed that Mr Moon’s decision to step north of the border, while holding hands with Kim, had been entirely unplanned, and offered a read-out of their comments to each other, writes Nicola Smith.
“You have come to the South, when I will be able to come to the North?” Mr Moon asked as he first shook hands with Kim across the ten centimetre high concrete block marking the Military Demarcation Line along the border.
“Maybe now is the right time for you to enter North Korean territory?” quipped Kim, and Mr Moon stepped across.
As they watched a short performance by a military guard, Kim added that he would like to see the full version, and would be “willing to go to the Blue House any time”, referring to the presidential palace in Seoul.
The two leaders then took part in a spontaneous photo-op with their entire delegations before heading into the Peace House to talk about specially chosen paintings of South and North Korean scenery that depicted communication between both sides.
Kim thanked Mr Moon for the detailed thought that had been put into greeting him.
The two leaders indulged in small talk about their journeys to the border, and Kim appeared to be relaxed after initially looking nervous as he cross the border on live TV.
He teased Mr Moon about his sleeping habits, saying he had heard that he had a habit of waking up early. “I will make sure that I won’t wake you up early,” he said, in a light-hearted reference to his notoriously early missile tests of the past.
Taking a more serious tone, he commented on the suitability of their meeting place, which had been a “place of conflict”, adding that he hoped they could “heal the pain” of division. Improvements would come “if we hold our hands together and deal with things together,” he told Mr Moon.
“Let’s meet often and determine ourselves to never go back to the start. Let’s create a better world for everyone,” said Kim. “We come here to put an end to confrontation. We are here together to come up with a good solution.”
The South Korean president expressed his hope that his government could keep up with the pace of diplomacy, and also his wish to see the North’s Mount Paektu some day.
He offered his condolences about the train crash that killed dozens of Chinese tourists earlier this week, and also made Kim’s younger sister blush by telling her she was now a celebrity in the South.
You have to be fit to be one of Kim’s bodyguards
The Guard Command, the military unit tasked with ensuring the safety of the leadership, is an elite institution close to the centre of North Korean power – it provides the centrepiece display of the annual kimjongilia and kimilsungia flower festivals in Pyongyang to honour Kim’s father and grandfather.
Ri Yong-guk, a defector from the North who served on a security detail for Kim Jong-il, wrote in a 2013 memoir that as many as six different layers of security guards protected the leader on trips to the countryside to inspect military units, plants or farms.
“It is one of the world’s tightest security blankets through which even a single ant would find it hard to go,” he wrote.
A North Korean woman who claims to have “mistakenly” defected to South Korea in 2011 says she hopes the summit between the two nations’ leaders may enable her to return to Pyongyang before the end of the year, writes Julian Ryall.
“I was so nervous counting the days to the summit,” Kim Ryon-hui said in an interview with The Korea Herald. “I believe I will be able to go back to Pyongyang within this year, maybe in June.
“Is my anticipation too high?” she asked.
Ms Kim was a dressmaker in North Korea and has claimed that she was talked into travelling to South Korea by a Chinese smuggler who said she would be able to make a large amount of money in a short period of time and then return to the North.
Under South Korean law, however, it is illegal for citizens to travel to the North and Ms Kim’s requests to be repatriated have all been refused.
Kim’s sister in the spotlight
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has given his younger sister a place at the negotiating table for the first North-South Korea summit in more than a decade.
Kim Yo-jong has emerged as the most visible member of the regime after her brother – since she became the first member of the ruling North Korean family to travel to the South in early February for the Olympics.
She was in Kim’s delegation as he walked across the line that divides the two Koreas on Friday morning and took a seat beside him as he started his first round of talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
The only other North Korean official present was former intelligence chief Kim Yong-chol, the top official in charge of relations with the South.
‘I hope for … bold agreement’
South Korean President Moon Jae-in told Kim Jong-un that he hoped to see a “bold agreement” as they began their summit on Friday.
“I hope we engage in frank talks and reach a bold agreement so that we may give a big gift to the whole Korean people and the people who want peace,” Moon said.
‘Candid talks for good results’
Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in’s opening comments have been broadcast live from the meeting room at the Peace House where they will conduct talks, writes Nicola Smith.
Kim spoke first, on the optimistic note that “this is a starting point for us, I believe we’ll make a new beginning.” He urged “candid talks for good results” that would be “future-orientated”, adding, “I hope we don’t go back to square one.”
He also expressed hope that President Moon would enjoy the cold Pyongyang noodles that would be served at this evening’s banquet.
President Moon replied that he felt “really good” about the day ahead but noted that “we have a huge burden on our shoulders” and “huge expectations” ahead.
He praised Kim for his “courageous and bold decision” to come to the talks. “Why don’t we make bold and courageous decisions to amicably talk about peace,” he said.
US hopeful ahead of talks
The United States is hopeful the talks between the two Korean leaders will make progress on achieving peace and prosperity.
In a statement, the White House said it looked forward to continuing discussions with South Korea in preparation for the planned meeting of President Donald Trump and Kim in the coming weeks.
On the occasion of Republic of Korea President Moon Jae-in’s historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, we wish the Korean people well. We are hopeful that talks will achieve progress toward a future of peace and prosperity for the entire Korean Peninsula. The United States appreciates the close coordination with our ally, the Republic of Korea, and looks forward to continuing robust discussions in preparation for the planned meeting between President Donald J. Trump and Kim Jong Un in the coming weeks.
Where’s Kim Yo-jong?
North Korean watchers have been pouring over the images emerging, scrutinising every detail.
Kim’s sister Kim Yo-jong stayed away from the spotlight, but stayed in the background.
She also handed the pen to Kim to sign the guestbook.
Some speculated that Kim Jong-un appeared nervous.
The two leaders also posed for photos beside a painting of the Bukhansan mountain in Seoul.
‘Big gamble, huge stakes’
It’s hard to know what to expect from today in the way of results. But there’s a sense among experts that we could see some real progress.
Abraham Denmark, director of the Asia programme at the Woodrow Wilson Centre in DC, says it’s “pretty exciting”.
“Possibility of fundamentally changing East Asia forever. Big gamble, huge stakes, happening right before our eyes.”
Leaders on their way to the border
We’re about half an away from Kim’s arrival at the border.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in has left Seoul’s presidential palace for the high-stakes summit.
Mr Moon briefly stepped out of his black limousine and cheerfully shook hands with hundreds of supporters who waved white South Korean flags and raised banners with messages including “Please Achieve Successful Denuclearization.”
Hundreds of members of the Korean Veterans Association arrived on buses from different parts of the nation hours earlier to send off Moon’s motorcade.
Article Source : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/04/27/kim-jong-un-becomes-first-north-korean-leader-cross-south-65/