An age of peace starts now, says Kim Jong-un

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un walks with South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in past a welcoming ceremony to the Peace House building at Panmunjom.

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un walks with South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in past a welcoming ceremony to the Peace House building at Panmunjom.  


I came here to end the history of conflict, says the North Korean leader after meeting the South’s President Moon Jae-in

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who met South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Friday in a historic summit, said a new age in inter-Korean relations has begun.

“A new history starts now. An age of peace, from the starting point of history,” Mr. Kim wrote in Korean in a guest book in the South’s Peace House before talks began.

President Moon greeted Mr. Kim at the military demarcation line in Panmunjom where the men smiled and shook hands.

In an unplanned move, Mr. Kim invited Mr. Moon to step briefly across into North Korea, before the two leaders crossed back into South Korea holding hands.

‘Really moving’

“I was excited to meet at this historic place and it is really moving that you came all the way to the demarcation line to greet me in person,” Mr. Kim said, wearing his customary black Mao suit.

During a private meeting in the morning, Mr. Kim told Mr. Moon he came to the summit to end the history of conflict and joked he was sorry for waking Mr. Moon up with his early morning missile tests, a senior presidential official said.

Mr. Moon and Mr. Kim released their joint declaration before a dinner banquet.

Later, with their wives, they watched a music performance and held hands as they watched a montage of photos from their summit set to a K-pop song that included the words “be a family again”.

After warm farewells, Mr. Kim was driven back to North Korea.

It is not the first time leaders of North and South Korea have declared hopes for peace. Two earlier summits, in Pyongyang in 2000 and 2007, failed to halt the North’s weapons programmes or improve relations in a lasting way.

Promises good results

“We will make efforts to create good results by communicating closely, in order to make sure our agreement signed today before the entire world, will not end as just a beginning like previous agreements before today,” Mr. Kim said after the summit.

The U.S. said earlier it was hopeful talks on peace and prosperity would make progress and it looked forward to discussions with South Korea in preparation for the planned meeting of Donald Trump and Mr. Kim in coming weeks.

Just months ago, Mr. Trump and Mr. Kim were trading threats and insults as the North made rapid advances in pursuit of nuclear-armed missiles capable of hitting the U.S.

The U.S. stations 28,500 troops in South Korea as a legacy of the Korean War, which ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

The war pitted the South, U.N. and U.S. forces against the communist North, backed by China and Russia.

Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump are expected to meet in late May or June. Mr. Trump said on Thursday he was considering several dates and venues.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres applauded the “truly historic summit” between the leaders of North and South Korea and urged them to quickly turn their commitments into action. China’s Foreign Ministry also praised the leaders for their “courage”.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2020 1:32:24 AM |

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