Moon and Kim shake hands for the first time: 'The start of a new history'
The first round of dialogue is over. In the afternoon the two leaders will plant a pine tree as a sign of peace, issue a joint declaration and dine together. The basis for dialogue with the US and for future summits. In Seoul, a massive crowd observes the images of the handshake amid joy and amazement.
Panmunjom (AsiaNews / Agencies) – “A new history starts now. In an era of peace, at the starting point of history." These are the words that Kim Jong-un chose to write in the Peace House guestbook, where the first meeting of the historic inter-Korean summit took place.
Kim Jong-un crossed the border that separates the North from the South this morning, at 9:30 am Korea, where the South Korean president Moon Jae-in was waiting for him. It is the first time that a Northern leader has crossed the border since 1953. The two leaders smiled and shook hands under the watchful eyes of the cameras and the world - more than 3,000 journalists and media were registered to follow the event - while a massive, excited crowd watched the live streaming from the main square of the South Korean capital.
There was also an opportunity for a small "unscheduled" event: Moon himself crossed the line that divides the two Koreas, "invited" by the North Korean leader. At 10:15 am, the two entered the Peace House, where the first round of dialogue was held between the two delegations, which ended shortly before 12:30. The meeting was held behind closed doors, anticipated by some brief statements by the two leaders. Moon's press officer Yoon Young-chan described the discussion as "very friendly and sincere".
After a lunch break which the two delegations took separately, the dialogue resumed and is still ongoing. Later, the two leaders will plant a pine tree with earth and water from both Koreas. A joint statement is expected for the 18:30 South Korean time (11:30 Italian), after which the two will dine together, accompanied by their wives.
From this summit, South Korea hopes to get a clear commitment from North Korea to denuclearize, laying the foundation for the success of the meeting next month with US President Donald Trump. Meanwhile, Moon and Kim Jong-un have laid the groundwork for future meetings, after recalling the "past failures". Moon stressed the expectations and responsibilities that weigh on them and expressed the hope that they will be able to maintain "the speed of the process [that started with] the New Year's speech by Chairman Kim and today”. Kim replied: "Let us meet often. Steel (our) hearts to avoid going back to the starting point. Let us meet the expectations to create a better world. We will do our part.”
The images of the two leaders on the line that demarcate the two Koreas were projected in the square in Seoul on a screen 5.5 meters wide and another 2.5. Many citizens gathered in the capital to share a moment of wonder and joy, when Kim and Moon shook hands. "I feel like my heart should stop. Words cannot describe how excited I am," whispered Kim, one of those present, aged 73 and originally from the North Korean side of Gangwon Province. He has been divided from his home since the end of the war in 1953.