The leaders of North Korea and South Korea, Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae-In, met and shook hands today for the first time in a decade.
The Korean leaders met for a one day summit at Panmunjom, the heart of the demilitarised zone separating the two countries. The talks involved the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and ways to establish peace and improve ties with each other.
There has been widespread scepticism towards the summit since previous summits weren’t fruitful, which Jonh Un acknowledged: “We have reached big agreements before but were unable to fulfil them … There are sceptical views on whether the meeting today will yield meaningful results,” he said. “If we maintain a firm will and proceed forward hand in hand, it will be impossible at least for things to get worse than they are now.”
Jong Un and Jae-In met at the location of the demarcation line that has kept the two countries apart since the 1953 armistice that called a cease-fire between military forces. While they are still technically at war, there have been no conflicts since the armistice.
The two leaders greeted each other, and after some conversation, Jong Un stepped over the demarcation line into South Korea, becoming the first ever North Korean leader to do so. Jae-In then stepped over the line into North Korea, which hasn’t happened since the last summit in 2007 involving Roh Moo-Hyun and Kim Jong Il.