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Ceturtdiena 21.03.2019 | Name days: Una, Unigunde, Dzelme, Benedikts

Leaders of North and South Korea perform historic meeting on the border

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUOn Friday, 27 April, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in met and performed a handshake at the Military Demarcation Line that separates the two countries. This was a symbolic and historic gesture before their summit.

«I am happy to meet you,» Moon told Kim after the latter crossed the Military Demarcation Line, making him the first North Korean leader to have set foot in South Korea since the signing of the 1953 peace treaty that ended the Korean War.

Kim and Moon did pass into North Korea’s territory for a short moment. They then departed for the location chosen for the summit – the Peace House building on the southern side of the truce village of Panmunjom. This will be the third summit between the leaders of North and South Korea to happen after the end of the Korean War in 1953.

The meeting was planned well in advance, of course. For three days officials from both sides planned every step the two leaders would take. The moment of the meeting created a serious contrast to the situation that ruled on the peninsula a year ago, when North Korea was holding missile tests and was exchanging insults with USA.

The summit with Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in is the highest-level meeting to take place in Korean nuclear diplomacy. The purpose of this summit is to prepare for the meeting between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump.

Kim said passing through the demarcation line was so easy that it made him wonder why it took so many years for it to happen.

In the peace house Kim said he walked 200 m ‘overwhelmed with emotions’ and told Moon that a new period has begun for the Korean peninsula.

The North Korean leader also promised to participate in talks with «a frank, serious and honest mindset».

The previous meetings of North and South Korean leaders took place in 2000 and 2007, when Kim Jong-il was in power in North Korea and South Korean presidents were Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun. People had high hopes for those summits, but they ultimately ended in relations worsening between the two countries.

Kim said he is aware of the scepticism left from the previous summit. He promised to help reach a lasting solution.

«It is not important how good an agreement or announcement we come up with if it is not realized properly, […] there will only be disappointment,» said Kim, promising to meet people’s expectations.

Moon said he is surprised about Kim’s «brave decision» to enter South Korea. He said he hopes a brave agreement will be reached.

«I think we both feel a great burden on our shoulders,» Moon told Kim.

North Korea’s official news agency KCNA reported on Friday that Kim and Moon «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».

KCNA did not mention denuclearization. Nevertheless, North Korea’s nuclear arsenal will be big topic for the two leaders.

Last year, North Korea performed the sixth and so far the strongest nuclear test. The country also tested its intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching USA. This resulted in increased tension between North Korea and USA, as well as mutual exchange of insults and war threats between Kim and Trump.

Trump demanded from North Korea to halt research and development of nuclear arms. Washington wants this to happen in a complete, verifiable and irreversible way.

South Korea announced on Thursday that North Korea’s technological accomplishments in development of nuclear arms means that any agreement would be «fundamentally different from the denuclearization treaties made in the 90s and beginning of this century».

«This makes this summit even more complicated,» reporters were told by the head of South Korean president’s secretariat Im Jong-seok.


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