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.
VIDEO DPRK leader Kim Jong Un and ROK President Moon Jae-in are planting a tree together at the border …
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.”
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shake hands after delivering a joint statement during the inter-Korean summit at the truce village of Panmunjom
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shake hands after delivering a joint statement during the inter-Korean summit at the truce village of Panmunjom CREDIT: REUTERS
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.
Kim left in a limousine, which was the subject of one of the more light-hearted moments of the day.
Earlier on Friday, a team of bodyguards surrounded the Mercedes and started walking alongside it as it moved away, but as the vehicle picked up pace they jogged in unison to keep up with the car.
As the North Korean leader left to cross the border, he waved out of the window having left the banquet to bring the historic day to an end.