Published: Thu, September 20, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Kim Jong-un welcomes South Korean leader in Pyongyang for historic summit

Kim Jong-un welcomes South Korean leader in Pyongyang for historic summit

South Korean President Moon Jae-in flew to Pyongyang on Tuesday for his third summit of the year with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

"The entire world is watching and I would like to show the outcome of peace and prosperity to the people around the globe", said Moon - whose own parents fled the North during the Korean War that left the peninsula divided by the impenetrable Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and technically in a state of conflict.

On Monday, Moon told senior aides at Cheong Wa Dae, "I'm going to have candid talks with Kim to find common ground between Washington's demand for denuclearization measures and Pyongyang's demand for an end to hostile relations and for security guarantees".

He didn't reveal the summit venue, but watchers say the headquarters of the North's ruling Workers' Party of Korea, where Kim's office is located, is the most plausible location. There are many business leaders in Moon's delegation of over 150 members, including executives from some of South Korea's largest conglomerates such as Samsung, LG and Hyundai.

Kim Yo-jong, the younger sister of the leader and a key official, was seen preparing officials for Moon's arrival and accompanying Kim Jong-un and his wife. At the time, the North Korean leader declared his backing for the denuclearisation of the peninsula.

As a military band played a rousing march, thousands of North Koreans, lined up in neat rows and dressed in black suits and traditional hanboks, cheered and waved bouquets of artificial flowers, the North Korean flag and a white-and-blue flag with a map symbolising a unified Korean Peninsula.

They then inspected goose-stepping soldiers, and Moon shook hands with North Korean civilians and bowed deeply to them. "Now it's time to bear some fruits", Moon said.

The first came in April, when a historic summit concluded with a declaration for the two countries to sign a formal peace treaty to end the Korean War.

Kim and Moon had an impromptu second meeting in May. Those trips produced a slew of inter-Korean rapprochement projects.

Opposition to Moon's North Korea policy was initially weak, partly because the conservatives were in disarray following a corruption scandal that led to the ouster of Park, Moon's predecessor.

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During their motor parade through Pyongyang's landmark Ryomyong Street, a new residential district launched past year under Kim's initiative to modernise the city, Kim and Moon briefly stepped out of the vehicle to greet and take flowers from members of the crowd.

Moon is set to depart for Seoul on Thursday morning with no official ceremony, Im said, adding again that there could be changes to the itinerary.

"This summit would be very meaningful if it yielded a resumption of North Korea-U.S. talks", Moon said.

The leaders of North and South Korean are meeting in the North Korean capital for talks centred on the stalled denuclearisation negotiations.

Asked about the US position on a war-ending declaration, a State Department spokesperson, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to comment by name, said that during their June summit in Singapore, "President Trump and Chairman Kim committed to working toward complete denuclearization and to joining their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula".

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un says his June summit with US President Donald Trump has stabilized the regional security situation.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is hosting Moon Jae-in, who is the first South Korean President to travel to Pyongyang in more than a decade.

However, he declined to say whether Moon planned to put forward a compromise for the USA and North Korea or whether he would suggest a more concrete plan for denuclearization.

There's also worry that a legally binding peace treaty would allow North Korea, and its backers in the U.N. Security Council, Russia and China, to demand that the U.S. -controlled U.N. Command that polices the Korean border under the armistice be disbanded. His visit will be for the third Pyongyang summit between the two Koreas, with the first and second ones held in 2000 and 2007 respectively. Both meetings were held at the border village of Panmunjom. The navies of the Koreas have fought several bloody skirmishes off the west coast of the Korean Peninsula.

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