President Trump spoke to South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in on Saturday to plan a meeting with North Korea in the latest indicator of the improving relations between Kim Jong-un and the rest of the world.
‘Just had a long and very good talk with President Moon of South Korea. Things are going very well, time and location of meeting with North Korea is being set.
‘Also spoke to Prime Minister Abe of Japan to inform him of the ongoing negotiations,’ he said.
The tweet comes a day after Jong-un and Jae-in made history by holding hands in a show of reconciliation after decades of hostility between their two countries.
Moon vowed: ‘There will be no more war’ and the pair agreed to ‘complete denuclearisation’, a stunning victory after months of frightening threats and missile tests.
On Friday, North Korea’s Kim Jong-un and South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in ended a 65-year- stalemate between their two countries when Kim stepped south of the border to discuss peace between their two nations
Kim became the first North Korean leader to step into the South for 65 years as he and President Moon vowed ‘there will be no more war’ and agreed to ‘complete denuclearisation’.
The two sworn enemies exchanged a warm greeting at the 38th parallel in the truce village of Panmunjom before the pair held talks and planted a commemorative tree together. The dramatic meeting has been seen as a precursor to planned talks between Kim and US President Donald Trump next month.
On Friday, Trump celebrated from afar as the two Korean leaders met and said that the US should be ‘very proud’ of it
As the summit came to an end on Friday, Kim and Moon clasped hands as K-pop blared during a bizarre farewell and photos of their meeting were projected onto a massive screen installed in front of the building where they met. Kim then boarded a black Mercedes Benz limousine that drove him back north.
The scenes were reminiscent of Donald Trump’s meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron earlier this week where the two leaders were seen holding hands and hugging during talks at the White House.
This afternoon, Kim and Moon embraced warmly after signing a statement in which they declared ‘there will be no more war on the Korean Peninsula’. The two countries said they will push for talks with the US, and potentially China, to officially end the 1950-53 conflict, which stopped with an armistice and left the Koreas still technically at war.
They also agreed to rid their peninsula of nuclear weapons but did not provide any new specific measures outlining how to achieve the objective.
Fond farewell: The first ladies of North and South Korea embrace as their husbands watch on at the end of the historic summit
Kim said: ‘We are going to be one again, as we share the same history, the same language, the same culture, the same blood. We are going to happily look back at the hard times in the past when we achieve a new future. No pain, no gain. Let us go forward, step by step for the bright future together.’
It comes following a year in which North Korea, the South and the US traded increasingly bellicose rhetoric about nuclear war amid a series of atomic tests by Kim’s regime, but then dramatically softened their stances in the last few months.
A delighted Donald Trump tweeted on Friday: ‘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!’
In an earlier tweet, he had cautiously praised the talks, writing: ‘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!’
He also praised China, adding: ‘Please do not forget the great help that my good friend, President Xi of China, has given to the United States, particularly at the Border of North Korea. Without him it would have been a much longer, tougher, process!’
Trump has long called on China to use its leverage as North Korea’s largest trading partner and sole ally to rein in Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions, sometimes expressing disappointment with Beijing.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday applauded the ‘truly historic summit’.
North Korea has placed its nuclear weapons up for negotiations. It has previously used the term ‘denuclearisation’ to say it can disarm only when the US withdraws its 28,500 troops in South Korea.
Kim and Moon announced after their summit that the Koreas will push for three-way talks including Washington or four-way talks that also include Beijing on converting the armistice into a peace treaty and establishing permanent peace on the Korean peninsula.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in waves from his car after his historic day of talks with Kim Jong-un on Friday
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un applauds with his wife Ri Sol Ju and sister Kim Yo Jong at a dinner in the truce village of Panmunjom
North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un (centre) speaks at the banquet as his wife Ri Sol Ju (left), South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in (second from right) and his wife Kim Jung-sook (right)
Kim Jong-un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, one of the dictator’s key aides, is pictured assisting the North Korean leader as he signs documents
If there were any doubt before about what an important role Kim’s sister Kim Yo Jong plays in his life, it was banished as she seemed to spend almost the entire day at his side
Kim said ‘we are going to be one again’ as he spoke of ‘sharing the same blood’ before adding: ‘We should pave the way for a new future where all the people can live peacefully’
It was all smiles as North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un (left) and South Korean President Moon Jae-in shook hands and posed for photos inside the Peace House
South Korean President Moon Jae-in toasts North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his wife Ri Sol Ju at the truce village of Panmunjom during a dinner event
The two leaders, accompanied by their wives, stood for a toast before sitting down for a reception dinner at the Peace House after a historic day of talks
Left to right: North Korean first lady Ri Sol-ju, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, South Korean President Moon Jae-In and South Korean first lady Kim Jung-sook, attend a reception dinner at the Peace House
Moon and Kim released their joint declaration before attending a dinner banquet (pictured) along with their wives and officials
North Korean first lady Ri Sol-ju (centre right) talks to South Korean first lady Kim Jung-sook (centre left) at the Peace House ahead of their dinner together
The wife of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was pictured arriving for a banquet following a historic summit between North and South Korea
Kim’s wife, Ri Sol Ju (wearing a pink dress and shaking hands with South Korea’s first lady Kim Jung-sook) has recently gained a growing political profile, accompanying Kim to key events at home and abroad
Kim Jung-sook (left), wife of South Korean President Moon Jae-in, greets Ri Sol-ju (right), wife of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un
Kim Jong-un and his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in have embraced warmly after signing a statement in which they declared ‘there will be no more war on the Korean Peninsula’
Moon Jae-in is due to visit Pyongyang this autumn while the two sides said they hope the parties will be able to declare an official end to the war by the end of this year.
They agreed to open a permanent communication office in the North Korean town of Kaesong, resume temporary reunions between relatives separated by the Korean War and will seek to expand civilian exchanges and pursue joint sports and cultural events.
The family reunions are expected to take place around August 15, an anniversary for both Koreas celebrating their peninsula’s liberation from Japanese colonial rule after the end of World War II.
This evening, Kim’s wife Ri Sol-ju crossed the border into South Korean territory to attend a summit dinner hosted by South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
She smiled as she shared a brief conversation with South Korean first lady Kim Jung-sook and said: ‘I’m happy to hear from my husband that the summit was a success. I hope things the two leaders do go well.’
Earlier, the leaders kept up a friendly demeanor during official talks inside the Peace House pavilion, with Kim joking to Moon that he would ‘stop interrupting his sleep’ with constant missile tests.
The leader of nuclear-armed North Korea Kim Jong Un and the South’s President Moon Jae-in said they were committed to the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula after a historic summit Friday
The leaders talked unaccompanied on a nearby bridge after their lunch break and they are later expected to resume their summit
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and first lady Ri Sol Ju, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and first lady Kim Jung-sook pose for photos ahead of a dinner at the truce village
– North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in embraced after pledging on Friday to work for the ‘complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula,’ punctuating a day of smiles and handshakes at the first inter-Korean summit in more than a decade
The two Koreas announced they would work with the United States and China this year to declare an official end to the 1950s Korean war and seek an agreement to establish ‘permanent’ and ‘solid’ peace in its place
Kim Jong-un has become the first North Korean leader to step into the South for 65 years as he met with President Moon Jae-in for a historic peace summit on Friday
The dictator, wearing his trademark black Mao suit, and President Moon, in a navy jacket, hold hands as they walk side-by-side across the demarcation line inside the truce village of Panmunjom at the start of Friday’s summit
From cheerleader to the global stage, North Korea’s first lady joins the summit dinner
Ri Sol Ju first travelled to South Korea more than a decade ago as a cheerleader for North Korea’s 2005 athletics team.
On Friday she returned as the wife of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, sharing the global stage with her husband after an historic summit that pledged to end more than 60 years of conflict on the Korean peninsula.
In matching bright pink skirt and jacket and glittery black high heels, Ri smiled as she was greeted by her South Korean counterpart, Kim Jung-sook and later the leaders of the two Koreas.
‘I was so glad to hear the summit went well,’ Ri told South Korean President Moon Jae-In as the four spoke briefly in the lobby of the Peace House in the South Korean side of the border with North Korea.
It was the first time any North Korean leader had brought his wife to a summit with a South Korean president. Kim’s father and grandfather who led North Korea before him had never taken their wives to official meetings with other heads of state.
Kim Jong Il, Jong Un’s father, was never seen in public with any of his wives.
Little is known about Ri, including her exact age, when she married Kim or whether they had a wedding ceremony.
Ri Sol Ju (pictured) first travelled to South Korea more than a decade ago as a cheerleader for North Korea’s 2005 athletics team
However, her style and attire have often been the focus of media attention, with state-distributed photograph showing designer handbags by Dior and Chanel hanging off her shoulder.
Ri posed for photographs with her husband, Moon and Moon’s wife ahead of the dinner, holding a black clutch and wearing pink lipstick and eyeshadow before attending a dinner hosted by Moon.
In contrast, her sister-in-law Kim Yo Jong, who accompanied Kim Jong Un to the summit from the start on Friday, wore a grey two-piece skirt suit and modest low, black heels.
Ri’s first official appearance as Kim’s wife in North Korean state media was in July 2012 at an opening ceremony for an amusement park, seen holding onto Kim’s arm affectionately as they toured the grounds.
Image consultants say she has helped create a softer, more approachable image for Kim that has aided him as he seeks to burnish his credentials as a world leader.
During his surprise visit to China last month, Chinese state television gave similar coverage to Kim’s visit with President Xi Jinping as they did to Xi’s meetings with U.S. President Donald Trump last year.
Ri was there with her husband and met Xi and Chinese First Lady Peng Liyuan, winning praise from social media users in China who called her ‘beautiful’ and compared her to pop stars.
In matching bright pink skirt and jacket and glittery black high heels, Ri smiled as she was greeted by her South Korean counterpart, Kim Jung-sook and later the leaders of the two Koreas
‘Kim Jong Un wants to be seen as a respected state leader inside his country and out,’ said Jeong Yeung-tae, head of the Institute of North Korea Studies in Seoul.
‘By bringing his wife along, he’s saying ‘Look at me, I’m as much of a country leader as you are.”
Ri’s status within North Korea has also risen in recent weeks, after state media began referring to her as First Lady during Ri and her husband’s visit to China.
That was the first time the title was used in North Korea in more than 40 years.
Prior to this, Ri had been called ‘comrade’ or simply, ‘wife of Kim Jong Un’.
According to South Korea’s Ministry of Unification, the last time North Korean state media referred to someone as First Lady was in 1974 for Kim Song Ae, the wife of Kim Il Sung, the grandfather of Kim Jong Un.
Ri’s status within North Korea has also risen in recent weeks, after state media began referring to her as First Lady during Ri and her husband’s visit to China
State media has also called her ‘respected Ri Sol Ju’, an adjective rarely used for members other than the North’s leadership. Kim Jong Un’s younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, is referred to by her party position.
Analysts said that doesn’t mean Ri is of a higher rank than Kim Yo Jong.
‘In North Korea, the wife of the leader does not have many roles…If the wife tries to do something political then she would have a hard time,’ Jeong, the analyst, said.
‘The sister has a powerful role as her brother’s helper. At the end of the day, Ri is just Kim Jong Un’s wife,’ he added.
Friday’s summit and another between North Korea and the United States scheduled for late May or June are expected to lend more information about the couple.
South Korean intelligence officials have briefed parliament officials that Ri and Kim have three children.
Former National Basketball Association star Dennis Rodman, who has frequently visited North Korea, said he met their second child in 2013.
South Korea praised the first round of discussions as ‘sincere and candid’ and said the leaders also addressed denuclearization, the prospect of permanent peace and the fate of North Korean defectors.
At the historic moment when the two leaders shook hands across the Military Demarcation line that bisects the rivals, Kim said his heart ‘keeps throbbing’. The dictator then thanked Moon for meeting at ‘historic place’, to which he responded by saying the dictator had made a ‘very courageous decision’ to come to the South.
In his opening remarks, Kim said he was ‘flooded with emotion’ after crossing the military demarcation line, adding that it was ‘so easy’ making him wonder ‘why it took so long to do so after 11 years’. Kim also said during opening talks that he would like to visit Moon at his official residence in Seoul.
Speaking to the dictator at the Peace House, President Moon said the demarcation line was ‘no longer a symbol of division but a symbol of peace’.
Referring to Kim Jong-un, he added: ‘I would like to pay tribute to the courageous decision made by you – you have made a bold and courageous decision, so why don’t we make the bold and courageous decision to amicably discuss peace, to once again give a great gift to the whole humankind by achieving peace.’
As talks resumed after lunch, Kim and Moon poured a mixture of soil and water from both countries onto a pine tree they planted together. They also unveiled a stone plaque placed next to the tree that was engraved with a message saying ‘Peace and Prosperity Are Planted.’
The pine tree dates to 1953, the year the Korean War ended in an armistice. The soil and water were brought from the Koreas’ mountains and rivers.
North Korean leader Mr Kim and South Korean President Moon announced after their summit that the Koreas will push for three-way talks including Washington or four-way talks that also include Beijing on converting the armistice into a peace treaty and establishing permanent peace on the Korean peninsula
Their dramatic meeting comes weeks before Kim is due to meet U.S. President Donald Trump in what would be the first ever meeting between sitting leaders of the two countries
A joint statement issued by Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae-in after the summit said the two had confirmed their goal of achieving ‘a nuclear-free Korean peninsula through complete denuclearisation’
North Korea has placed its nuclear weapons up for negotiations. It has previously used the term ‘denuclearisation’ to say it can disarm only when the US withdraws its 28,500 troops in South Korea
Kim Jong-Un inspects a rusty military demarcation line sign at the Joint Security Area in the border village of Panmunjom in Paju, South Korea on Friday
The two countries also said they will jointly push for talks with the US, and potentially China, to officially end the 1950-53 Korean War, which stopped with an armistice and left the Koreas still technically at war
The Koreas said they hope the parties will be able to declare an official end to the war by the end of this year
The two Koreas have agreed for South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in to visit Pyongyang sometime this autumn it has emerged
A joint statement issued after their leaders’ talks Friday says the two Koreas confirmed their goal of achieving ‘a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula through complete denuclearization’
‘Let us go forward, step by step’: The Korean leaders’ joint statement
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in signed a joint statement on Friday after meeting at the heavily fortified demilitarised zone between their countries.
Kim became the first North Korean leader since the 1950-53 Korean War to set foot in South Korea after shaking hands with his counterpart over a concrete curb marking the border at the truce village of Panmunjom.
Here are the major points of a joint statement they issued.
The two Koreas agree to:
– Fully implement all existing agreements and declarations adopted so far between the two sides.
– Hold dialogue and negotiations in various fields including high level talks, take active measures to implement summit agreement.
– Establish joint liaison office with resident representatives of both sides in the Kaesong industrial zone on their border.
– Encourage more active cooperation, exchanges, visits and contacts at all levels.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in signed a joint statement on Friday after meeting at the heavily fortified demilitarised zone between their countries
– Actively stage various joint events on special dates in which participants from all levels, including central and local governments, parliaments, political parties and civil organisations.
– Jointly participate in international sports events such as the 2018 Asian Games.
– Endeavour to swiftly resolve the humanitarian issues that resulted from the nation’s division.
– Convene an Inter-Korean Red Cross Meeting to discuss and solve issues including the reunion of families separated by the Korean War.
– Hold reunion programme for separated family on Aug. 15.
– Implement projects previously agreed in an Oct. 4, 2007, declaration to promote balanced economic growth and joint prosperity.
– Adopt practical steps toward connecting and modernising railways and roads between them on the eastern side of the peninsula as well as between Seoul and Sinuiju, in northwest North Korea.
The two Koreas agree to:
– Completely cease all hostile acts against each other in every domain including land, sea and air.
– Transform the Demiliatrised Zone into a peace zone as of May 1 by halting all hostile acts and eliminating their means, including loudspeaker broadcasts and the distribution of propaganda leaflets.
Kim became the first North Korean leader since the 1950-53 Korean War to set foot in South Korea after shaking hands with his counterpart over a concrete curb marking the border at the truce village of Panmunjom
– Devise a practical scheme to transform the current Northern Limit Line in the West Sea into a maritime peace zone to prevent accidental military clashes.
– Hold frequent defence ministerial and working-level meetings in a bid to immediately discuss and solve military issues, with the first military talks to be held in May at the rank of general.
– The two Koreas reaffirm and agree to strictly adhere to a Non-Aggression Agreement that precludes the use of force in any form against each other.
– They agree to carry out disarmament in a phased manner, as military tension is alleviated and substantial progress is made in military confidence-building.
– They agree to actively pursue trilateral meetings involving the United States, or quadrilateral meetings involving the United States and China with a view to declaring an end to the War and establishing a permanent and solid peace regime.
– They confirm the common goal of realising, through complete denuclearisation, a nuclear-free Korean peninsula.
The leaders then talked while walking unaccompanied on a nearby bridge before they are expected to resume the afternoon session of their summit at Panmunjom. Kim at one point was seen waving away photographers as he and Moon continued their talks sitting on chairs placed at the bridge.
Earlier Kim, donning his trademark dark Mao suit, had arrived by car before entering South Korea to meet President Moon at 9.30am local time (8.30pm EST/12.30am GMT).
The dictator emerged right on cue from a large building on the northern side of the border, walked down a wide flight of stairs and strolled confidently toward Moons to begin the historic meeting.
Smiling broadly and exchanging greetings, the two shook hands for a long time, looking from outward appearances like old friends. Moon had awaited Kim’s arrival at ‘Freedom House,’ a building on the southern side of the Demilitarized Zone.
As soon as Moon saw Kim come out, he walked to meet him at the border so that their handshake would be at the most symbolic of locations, each leader standing on his side of the military demarcation line.
Their hands still clasped, Moon invited the North Korean leader into the South over a line marked by a curb of concrete. Kim then gestured for Moon to step into the North. They both did, and then returned to the South together, hands held.
After the first session of talks, Kim Jong Un and Moon lunched separately and then rejoined each other for a tree-planting ceremony in the afternoon
The two leaders planted a tree on the demarcation line using soil from Mount Halla in South Korea and Mount Paektu in the North
Kim told Moon he would be willing to visit the presidential Blue House in Seoul, invited Moon to Pyongyang, and said he wanted to meet ‘more often’ in the future
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in talked privately for more than 20 minutes, sitting on chairs at a blue bridge inside a border truce village where Moon is hosting Kim for a summit
The two leaders walked unaccompanied across a bridge as they resumed talks after their lunch break and were seen deep in conversation
After a morning meeting discussing denuclearisation, the leaders planted a tree and unveiled a monument engraved with ‘planting peace and prosperity’. The two then took a short walk along the border before sitting and talking on a wooden boardwalk
After the tree planting, Kim and Moon unveiled a stone plaque placed next to the tree that was engraved with a message saying ‘Peace and Prosperity Are Planted’
The first step towards peace? Korea experts warn of caution
Tom Plant, Director of Proliferation and Nuclear Policy at British defence and security think tank RUSI, told MailOnline: ‘The landmark summit between the two Koreas was marked with all the pomp and pageantry that you might expect. Stage-managed to the hilt, there was still room for personal moments between Mr Kim and Mr Moon, who smiled and joked with their wives for the television cameras before the summit dinner. And there was a startling degree of detail on the various ways in which Seoul and Pyongyang will plan to improve their relationship – family reunions, sporting contacts, measures designed to reduce the likelihood of low-level military clashes, and so on.
But the storm clouds over the peninsula have not dispersed just yet. There was very little detail on the central issue of North Korea’s nuclear programme, with the two leaders agreeing only ‘to common goal of… a nuclear-free Korean peninsula’, something that has been promised many times before and never delivered.
On this issue, the US – and conservatives in South Korea, for that matter – will expect to see substantial and rapid progress by the North if peace is indeed to break out on the peninsula. The worry here is that expectations raised too high are dashed more completely when they fail – and, after all, it isn’t so long since the US was ‘locked and loaded’ for ‘fire and fury’ in Korea.’
Abraham Denmark, Director of the Asia Program at the Wilson Center and senior fellow with the Kissinger Institute, says: ‘This agreement is laden with optimism and very ambitious goals, but lacks detail on how North and South plan to achieve them. More a statement of intent than a roadmap for a way forward.
‘Two initial issues are most apparent. First, a peace treaty will likely need to be signed by China and the US as well as North and South Korea.
‘Expect a four-party mechanism to be established to negotiate a peace treaty, with the US and ROK ensuring that the Alliance is unaffected.
Second, it calls for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, a term that allows Seoul to say Kim has agreed to denuclearization while allowing Pyongyang to link its denuclearization to diminishing the US-ROK Alliance, potentially including an end to US extended deterrence.
This agreement greatly raises expectations for the Kim-Trump Summit. An agreement between NK and the US will need to include a detailed roadmap for a way forward, including each side’s concessions.
Overall, this is a very positive first step. But the future remains very unclear, and there are innumerable opportunities for all of this to fall apart very rapidly.’
The North Korean leader was then met by South Korean children bearing flowers and a military honor guard before he headed into the Peace House to sign a guestbook, visibly out of breath.
‘New history starts from now, at the historic starting point of an era of peace,’ he wrote.
In an initial televised exchange, Kim said he was ready for ‘heartfelt, sincere and honest’ discussions with Moon, although he did not mention the issue of nuclear weapons.
‘I feel like I’m firing a flare at the starting line in the moment of [the two Koreas] writing a new history in North-South relations, peace and prosperity,’ Kim said.
He added: ‘Through the meeting, I hope we won’t go back to square one again, and the non-implementation of what is committed will not happen again.
He said he hoped both sides ‘can engage in good discussions on very important topics and come up with very, very good results’.
Moon responded that there were high expectations that they produce an agreement that will be a ‘big gift to the entire Korean nation and every peace loving person in the world’.
‘I believe our encounter is extremely important for all of us, and that means a huge burden on our shoulders,’ he said.
‘I guess we have ample time. We can discuss the whole day; over the past seven decades we couldn’t really communicate… Definitely we can talk the whole day.’
Kim also said he wanted to avoid a repeat of the past ‘where we were unable to fulfill our agreements’ – a nod to 1994 the North agreed to freeze its nuclear programme but the agreement then broke down.
The dictator, according to one translation, then said he wanted to ‘talk openly… so that the lost decade is not gone to waste’, apparently referring to the gap between the last North-South summit in 2007.
A version of what was discussed during the closed-doors section of the first round of talks was released by South Korea.
They said Kim made a reference to North Koreans defectors who have escaped the country in their thousands under his tyrannical rule.
Kim was quoted as saying: ‘We should value this opportunity so that the scars between the South and North could be healed. The border line isn’t that high; it will eventually be erased if a lot of people pass over it.’
The dictator normally expresses anger toward defectors and often accuses South Korea of abducting or enticing its citizens to defect.
Kim even had a joke about his decision to stop firing missiles – quipping that he ‘won’t interrupt your early morning sleep anymore’.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (centre, right, next to his sister Kim Yo Jong) and South Korean President Moon Jae-in (centre, left) had ‘serious, frank’ discussions on the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and a permanent peace in their first summit session on Friday
South Korea’s presidential office said earlier Friday Moon expressed satisfaction after the first round of talks with Kim at the border truce village of Panmunjom
In his opening remarks, Kim said he was ‘flooded with emotion’ after crossing the military demarcation line, adding that it was ‘so easy’ making him wonder ‘why it took so long to do so after 11 years’
The two leaders shook hands while standing over the world’s most heavily defended border before taking turns to cross over from north to south
Kim and Moon enjoyed the symbolism of crossing the Military Demarcation Line together, which remains the most heavily defended border in the world
Mr Kim, centre right, arrives with his delegation at the north side of the Demilitarized Zone while Moon remained on the south side
A smiling Kim emerges right on cue from a large building on the northern side of the border, walked down a wide flight of stairs and strolled confidently toward Moon to begin the historic meeting
Smiling broadly and exchanging greetings, the two shook hands for a long time, looking from outward appearances like old friends
Their hands still clasped, Moon invited the North Korean leader into the South for the first time ever, just one step over a line marked by a ‘curb’ of concrete
Kim said he was ‘filled with emotion’ after stepping over the concrete blocks, making him the first North Korean leader to set foot in the South since the Korean War ended in an armistice 65 years ago
Moon seized on the South’s Winter Olympics as an opportunity to broker dialogue with Kim Jong-un, and has said his meeting with the dictator will serve to set up the summit between Pyongyang and Washington
As Kim’s car left the first round of talks for lunch, it was protected by 12 suited bodyguards who formed a ring around the vehicle while jogging to keep up
The two sides were writing up a joint statement and the leaders will announce it together when it is finished
The opening exchanges
This is how the two leaders’ conversation went during their historic meeting, according to reporters who were present.
Kim: ‘Nice to meet you’.
Moon: ‘Was it not hard to come here?’
Moon: ‘Nice to meet you.’
Kim: ‘My heart won’t stop fluttering, to meet at such a historic location. Also, I’m very moved that you have come all the way to [military demarcation line] to greet.’
Moon: ‘It was a very courageous decision for you to come all the way here.’
Kim: ‘No, no.’
The tyrant also made a reference to a South Korean island targeted by a North Korean artillery attack that killed four in 2010, saying he hoped talks could help ease the fears of residents.
Moon called for more meetings between the leaders and said he wishes to travel in North Korea to visit Mount Paektu near the country’s border with China.
But, according to South Korean officials Kim described his country’s transport conditions as poor and said such a trip might be currently uncomfortable for Moon because the country’s transport system was deficient.
According Al Jazeera, Kim said: ‘I’d be honestly worried if you come, it might be embarrassing, the transportation is not good.’
Kim then suggested if Moon were to visit, he would be best served by flying because the roads were ‘inconvenient’.
He added: ‘I’m worried that our transport situation is bad so it may discomfort you, it may be embarrassing [for me] if you visit North Korea after living in the South’s environment.’
He also said the North Korean delegation during their visit to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in February came back impressed by the South’s bullet train services and aware of the poor state of their own infrastructure.
Moon in response said North Koreans would also be able to enjoy the South’s high-speed trains if the rivals improve relations and reconnect their rail networks across the border.
North Korean roads are often bumpy and poorly maintained. Kim earlier this month met with China’s ambassador and visited a hospital where Chinese tourists were being treated after a deadly bus crash killed 32 in North Korea.
Every detail of the arrangements for the summit had been painstakingly thought through, not least the distance both leaders will sit apart from each other inside the Peace House – 2,018 millimeters, a nod to the current year.
Many of the buildings in Panmunjom have been painted blue, the color of the Korea Unification Flag and the UN.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in (left) and North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un (right) shake hands on meeting for the Inter-Korean Summit at the military demarcation line
The two sides were writing up a joint statement and the two leaders would announce it together when it was finished, the official, Yoon Young-chan, told a briefing
Seoul says the leaders of the two Koreas had ‘sincere, candid’ talks on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula’and other issues during their summit talks
South Korea says North Korean leader Kim Jong Un described the country’s transport conditions as poor as he and South Korean President Moon Jae-in discussed Moon’s potential visit to the North
Kim Jong Un (middle, centre) is escorted by North Korean bodyguards as he walks from the North to the Military Demarcation Line
Face-to-face: Kim said he felt a ‘swirl of emotion’ as he walked into South Korea, wondering ‘why it took so long’ to get to this place
Meet and greet: South Korean President Moon Jae-in is introduced to Kim’s sister Kim Yo-jong as officials watch on
All smiles: The apparent warmth between the men was in stark contrast to the tension between the two countries last year amid North Korean weapons testing
South Korean conservative activists have set fire to North Korean flags during a rally against the summit talks between the leaders of the two Koreas.
Hundreds of activists gathered near the border village of Panmunjom on Friday to protest the talks between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in
Singing at the summit? Korea’s musical first ladies
Kim Jong-un-s wife Ri Sol Ju (left with the dictator) has a passion for her music and was a professional singer before her marriage to the tyrant
At first glance the two Koreas’ first ladies, who are to attend a banquet Friday following a historic summit between their husbands, would appear to have little in common.
One is in her 20s from the isolated North and the other is in her 60s from the capitalist South, but they share a passion for music – both Ri Sol Ju and Kim Jung-sook were professional singers before their marriages.
Ri, the wife of the North’s leader Kim Jong Un, has gained a growing political profile, accompanying Kim to key events at home and abroad including last month’s summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping – whose wife Peng Liyuan is also a former singer.
Believed to be in her late 20s and having three children with Kim, Ri was already a public figure in her own right as a singer for the Unhasu band – an elite troupe whose members are handpicked by the state based on their talent, looks and loyalty to the regime.
The couple tied the knot in 2009, but Ri was only publicly identified as Kim’s wife in 2012 after the young, inexperienced leader inherited power from his father the previous year.
Ri quickly became one of the most high-profile women in the isolated country, joining her husband on numerous ‘field guidance trips’ and for meetings with foreign dignitaries, often dressing in luxury brands and once sporting a Christian Dior handbag.
Her public presence was a departure from precedent in the North, where the wives of the previous two leaders – Kim’s father and grandfather – rarely made public appearances, with details about their lives mostly kept secret.
Ri was accorded the description of ‘respected First Lady’ in the North’s state media earlier this month – the first time the title had been used in the deeply patriarchal country for more than 40 years.
It came as she made her first solo public appearance, with analysts saying the moves were an effort to paint the North as a ‘normal state’ ahead of Kim’s summits with Moon and US President Donald Trump.
Ri will dine with her Southern counterpart Kim Jung-sook, the wife of South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
In the Korean writing system, Kim’s name is identical to that of Kim Jong Un’s grandmother Kim Jong Suk.
The 63-year-old is also a professionally trained vocalist who was once a member of the Seoul city choir before becoming a housewife shortly after marriage and having two children.
As Moon gained political prominence, Kim endeared herself to the public with her outgoing and cheerful personality – in contrast to her husband, who is often described as too quiet and bland.
South Korea’s first lady Kim Jung-sook (right) is also a professionally trained vocalist who was once a member of the Seoul city choir before becoming a housewife shortly after marriage and having two children
She has showed off her singing skills at public events and was seen performing Psy’s horse-riding Gangnam Style dance on a visit to the Philippines last year – a break from most previous first ladies who remained quiet and coy next to their husbands.
The couple met at a university in Seoul where Kim was studying classical singing and law student Moon was a pro-democracy activist opposing the then military dictatorship.
Moon says they fell in love when she took care of him after he was left unconscious by a police tear gas canister fired during a campus pro-democracy rally, and she supported him while he served a prison term for his activism.
It was Kim who proposed to Moon – a rarity in the conservative South – in defiance of opposition from her parents, who were unimpressed by his humble background as the son of poor North Korean refugees.
By Afp reporter
The North’s official KCNA news agency said that Kim will ‘open-heartedly discuss… all the issues arising in improving inter-Korean relations and achieving peace, prosperity and reunification of the Korean peninsula’
Last year Pyongyang carried out its sixth nuclear blast, by far its most powerful to date, and launched missiles capable of reaching the US mainland. The two leaders are pictured moments before shaking hands
At the historic moment when the two leaders held hands across the Military Demarcation line that bisects the rivals, Kim said that his heart ‘keeps throbbing’
A close-up of Kim and Moon as they step across the Military Demarcation Line that divides their countries into the South side
Security personnel accompany a vehicle transporting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the inter-Korean summit at the truce village of Panmunjom
The meeting is the highest-level encounter yet in a whirlwind of nuclear diplomacy, and intended to pave the way for a much-anticipated encounter between Kim and US President Donald Trump
After being led along a red carpet by South Korean honour guard in traditional blue, yellow and red outfits, the two men entered the Peace House on the South side
Kim said that ‘with determination, we will be heading toward a better place to make up for the lost 11 years’ since the last summit
Seoul says North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s wife will cross the border into South Korea to attend a dinner banquet after the Koreas’ summit talks at a border village
Reflecting the emphasis on unity, both leaders were keen to appear at ease with each other and exchanged several jokes.
Kim quipped that he hoped Moon would enjoy North Korea’s famous cold noodles that will be brought to the banquet after the summit, saying it was difficult to bring the noodles from Pyongyang.
He then turned to his sister sitting to his left and said ‘maybe I shouldn’t have said [Pyongyang] was far.’
Kim Yo Jong has emerged as the most visible member of Kim’s regime after her brother — since she became the first member of the ruling North Korean family to travel to the South in early February for the Olympics.
She was in Kim’s delegation as he walked across the line that divides the two Koreas on Friday morning and took a seat beside him as he started his first round of talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
The only other North Korean official present was former intelligence chief Kim Yong Chol, the top official in charge of relations with the South.
China heaped praise on the leaders of the two Koreas for holding the landmark summit, calling their handshake ‘historic moment’.
‘We applaud the Korean leaders’ historic step and appreciate their political decisions and courage,’ foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular press briefing.
Two fifth-grade students from the Daesongdong Elementary School, the only South Korean school within the DMZ, greeted the leaders and gave Kim flowers
The two leaders pose with the children for another photo, with the huts on either side painted blue to match the color of the Korean Unification Flag
Previous summits: The present leader’s father Kim Jong-Il on June 13, 2000, welcoming South Korea’s President Kim Dae-jung at SoonAn airport in Pyongyang; Kim Jong-Il with South Korea’s President Roh Moo-Hyun on October 2, 2007; and Kim Jong Un walking with South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in at this year’s summit in Panmunjom
This map shows the layout of the Panmunjom and the location of key buildings including the Peace House, where talks are held
‘We hope and look forward to them taking this opportunity to further open a new journey of long-term stability on the peninsula.’
She also cited a poem that reads: ‘We remain brothers after all the vicissitudes; let’s forgo our old grudges, smiling we meet again.’
China is North Korea’s sole major ally but it has supported a series of United Nations sanctions to punish Pyongyang over its nuclear and missile tests.
Beijing has pressed for dialogue to peacefully resolve the nuclear crisis.
Russia said the summit was ‘very positive news’, saying direct dialogue on the divided peninsula was promising.
‘This is very positive news,’ President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. ‘Today we see that this direct dialogue has taken place (and) it has certain prospects,’ he said.
In a later statement, the Kremlin’s Foreign Ministry said it was ready to facilitate cooperation between North and South Korea, including in the fields of railway transportation, gas and electrical energy.
Did Kim promise to end missile launches because his test site was ALREADY out of action?
Kim Jong-un only agreed to freeze his missile tests because his underground nuclear test site has collapsed, Chinese experts suggested on Wednesday.
The dictator announced on Saturday he would halt nuke trials and intercontinental missile launches and also vowed to dismantle the atomic facility at Punggye-ri in the country’s north east to ‘transparently guarantee’ the end of testing.
But the surprise announcement comes after reports last year of major earthquakes and landslides in the mountainous area in the wake of five test blasts carried out by the secretive state in recent years.
The dictator announced on Saturday he would halt nuke trials and intercontinental missile launches. But doubt now surrounds the honesty of this claim after evidence revealed the test site was already damaged, including by landslides depicted on this map
According to the South China Morning Post, two groups of Chinese experts say the military facility has collapsed ‘putting China and other nearby nations at unprecedented risk of radioactive exposure’.
One of the experts said this could be the real reason behind Kim Jong-un’s decision to end his missile and nuclear trials.
The tyrant had claimed that the freeze was because he had now successfully developed the country’s arsenal, including miniaturizing warheads to fit them on to rockets.
But Wen Lianxing, from the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei, and his researchers have concluded that a major collapse took place at Kim’s atomic site after the country’s sixth nuclear test in September.
At the time, Japan estimated that the blast was measured at 120 kilotons, eight times the size of the US device that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945.
Satellite images appeared to show multiple landslides in the wake of the hydrogen bomb blast, with green mountains reduced to muddy hillsides.
Weeks later, unverified reports emerged that up to 200 workers may have been killed during the construction of a new tunnel at the site. Three small earthquakes then hit nearby regions, it is claimed.
A map showing the atomic facility at Punggye-ri and piles of dumped material that show the construction of a tunnel, where dozens of workers are thought to have died after the structure collapsed
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he welcomed the summit as a positive step and he strongly expected Pyongyang to take concrete steps towards to carry out its promises.
Japan would stay in close contact with the United States and South Korea over North Korea, Abe said, adding that Japan was ‘absolutely not’ being left out of the denuclearisation process.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is welcoming the summit but says he doesn’t expect any great breakthrough that might curb North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.
Johnson told reporters at NATO headquarters Friday, ‘I am very encouraged by what’s happening.’
He says: ‘I don’t think that anybody looking at the history of North Korea’s plans to develop a nuclear weapon would want to be over-optimistic at this point. But it is clearly good news that the two leaders are meeting. Absolutely.’
Earlier, the White House said in a statement that it is ‘hopeful that talks will achieve progress toward a future of peace and prosperity for the entire Korean Peninsula. … (and) looks forward to continuing robust discussions in preparation for the planned meeting between President Donald J. Trump and Kim Jong Un in the coming weeks.’
Hopes that the summit will make a significant step towards peace were boosted by Kim’s announcement on Saturday that he was stopping missile tests and closing his nuclear test site.
Kim and Moon strode past an honor guard and military band, before Moon introduced Kim to South Korean government officials
Moon salutes a flamboyant-dressed South Korean welcome guard lined up to greet the North Korean dictator during the unprecedented summit in Panmunjom
A South Korean honor guard wearing uniforms of blue, red and white holds flags aloft as Kim and Moon walk along a red carpet in the truce village of Panmunjom
Kim and Moon exchange glances with assembled North and South Korean officials, including Kim’s sister, Kim Yo Jong (right)
The two leaders (bottom) stride up the red carpet into the Peace House in Panmunjom for their opening round of discussions
Moving onto the truce village of Panmunjom, a visibly out of breath Kim signed the guest book at the Peace House, which will be the venue for talks that will focus on whether the North can be persuaded to give up its nuclear bombs
Kim wrote in the Peace House guest book: ‘New history starts from now, at the historic starting point of an era of peace’
Kim and Moon posed for a photo inside the Peace House, where the summit was to take place, in front of a painting of South Korea’s Bukhan Mountain
Kim and Moon appear deep in conversation in front of a painting of the Bukhan Mountain inside the Peace House in Panmunjomn
Kim and Moon were sitting exactly 2,018 millimeters apart as they spoke to each other over the conference table, in a nod to the current year. On the right is the dictator’s sister, Kim Yo Jong
Kim’s sister,Kim’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, was by his side throughout the ceremony, handing him a pen to sign a guestbook, taking the schoolchildren’s flowers from his hand and scribbling notes at the start of the talks with Moon (pictured)
The full North and South Korea statement
Below is the full joint statement by North and South Korea released by the South Korean presidential office on Friday after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in pledged to work for the ‘complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula’.
During this momentous period of historical transformation on the Korean Peninsula, reflecting the enduring aspiration of the Korean people for peace, prosperity and unification, President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the State Affairs Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea held an Inter-Korean Summit Meeting at the ‘Peace House’ at Panmunjom on April 27, 2018.
The two leaders solemnly declared before the 80 million Korean people and the whole world that there will be no more war on the Korean Peninsula and thus a new era of peace has begun.
The declaration included promises to pursue phased military arms reduction, cease hostile acts, transform their fortified border into a peace zone, and seek multilateral talks with other countries including the United States
The two leaders, sharing the firm commitment to bring a swift a swift end to the Cold War relic of longstanding division and confrontation, to boldly approach a new era of national reconciliation, peace and prosperity, and to improve and cultivate inter-Korean relations in a more active manner, declared at this historic site of Panmunjom as follows:
1. South and North Korea will reconnect the blood relations of the people and bring forward the future of co-prosperity and unification led by Koreans by facilitating comprehensive and groundbreaking advancement in inter-Korean relations. Improving and cultivating inter-Korean relations is the prevalent desire of the whole nation and the urgent calling of the times that cannot be held back any further.
1) South and North Korea affirmed the principle of determining the destiny of the Korean nation on their own accord and agreed to bring forth the watershed moment for the improvement of inter-Korean relations by fully implementing all existing agreements and declarations adopted between the two sides thus far.
2) South and North Korea agreed to hold dialogue and negotiations in various fields including at high level, and to take active measures for the implementation of the agreements reached at the Summit.
3) South and North Korea agreed to establish a joint liaison office with resident representatives of both sides in the Gaeseong region in order to facilitate close consultation between the authorities as well as smooth exchanges and cooperation between the peoples.
4) South and North Korea agreed to encourage more active cooperation, exchanges, visits and contacts at all levels in order to rejuvenate the sense of national reconciliation and unity. Between South and North, the two sides will encourage the atmosphere of amity and cooperation by actively staging various joint events on the dates that hold special meaning for both South and North Korea, such as June 15, in which participants from all levels, including central and local governments, parliaments, political parties, and civil organizations, will be involved. On the international front, the two sides agreed to demonstrate their collective wisdom, talents, and solidarity by jointly participating in international sports events such as the 2018 Asian Games.
Scenes of Moon and Kim joking and walking together marked a striking contrast to last year’s barrage of North Korean missile tests and its largest ever nuclear test that led to sweeping international sanctions and fears of a fresh conflict on the Korean peninsula
5) South and North Korea agreed to endeavor to swiftly resolve the humanitarian issues that resulted from the division of the nation, and to convene the Inter-Korean Red Cross Meeting to discuss and solve various issues including the reunion of separated families. In this vein, South and North Korea agreed to proceed with reunion programs for the separated families on the occasion of the National Liberation Day of August 15 this year.
6) South and North Korea agreed to actively implement the projects previously agreed in the 2007 October 4 Declaration, in order to promote balanced economic growth and co-prosperity of the nation. As a first step, the two sides agreed to adopt practical steps towards the connection and modernization of the railways and roads on the eastern transportation corridor as well as between Seoul and Sinuiju for their utilization.
2. South and North Korea will make joint efforts to alleviate the acute military tension and practically eliminate the danger of war on the Korean Peninsula.
1) South and North Korea agreed to completely cease all hostile acts against each other in every domain, including land, air and sea, that are the source of military tension and conflict. In this vein, the two sides agreed to transform the demilitarized zone into a peace zone in a genuine sense by ceasing as of May 2 this year all hostile acts and eliminating their means, including broadcasting through loudspeakers and distribution of leaflets, in the areas along the Military Demarcation Line.
2) South and North Korea agreed to devise a practical scheme to turn the areas around the Northern Limit Line in the West Sea into a maritime peace zone in order to prevent accidental military clashes and guarantee safe fishing activities.
3) South and North Korea agreed to take various military measures to ensure active mutual cooperation, exchanges, visits and contacts. The two sides agreed to hold frequent meetings between military authorities, including the defense Ministers Meeting, in order to immediately discuss and solve military issues that arise between them. In this regard, the two sides agreed to first convene military talks at the rank of general in May.
3. South and North Korea will actively cooperate to establish a permanent and solid peace regime on the Korean Peninsula. Bringing an end to the current unnatural state of armistice and establishing a robust peace regime on the Korean Peninsula is a historical mission that must not be delayed any further.
1) South and North Korea reaffirmed the Non-Aggression Agreement that precludes the use of force in any form against each other, and agreed to strictly adhere to this Agreement.
Their dramatic meeting comes weeks before Kim is due to meet U.S. President Donald Trump in what would be the first ever meeting between sitting leaders of the two countries. Moon agreed to visit Pyongyang later this year, according to the declaration
2) South and North Korea agreed to carry out disarmament in a phased manner, as military tension is alleviated and substantial progress is made in military confidence-building.
3) During this year that marks the 65th anniversary of the Armistice, South and North Korea agreed to actively pursue trilateral meetings involving the two Koreas and the United States, or quadrilateral meetings involving the two Koreas, the United States and China with a view to declaring an end to the war and establishing a permanent and solid peace regime.
4) South and North Korea confirmed the common goal of realizing, through complete denuclearization, a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. South and North Korea shared the view that the measures being initiated by North Korea are very meaningful and crucial for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and agreed to carry out their respective roles and responsibilities in this regard. South and North Korea agreed to actively seek the support and cooperation of the international community for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
The two leaders agreed, through regular meetings and direct telephone conversations, to hold frequent and candid discussions on issues vital to the nation, to strengthen mutual trust and to jointly endeavor to strengthen the positive momentum towards continuous advancement of inter-Korean relations as well as peace, prosperity and unification of the Korean Peninsula.
In this context, President Moon Jae-in agreed to visit Pyongyang this fall.
April 27, 2018
Done in Panmunjom
Moon Jae-in, President Republic of Korea
Kim Jong Un, Chairman, State Affairs Commission, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
However, suspicions deepened after it emerged part of the test site has already collapsed, potentially rendering it unable to host further launches anyway.
After the announcement, they will have dinner on the South’s side and watch a video clip themed ‘Spring of One’.
The menu consists of items from the North and South, including a cold noodle dish called naengmyeon, which will be specially prepared by a chef from Okryugwan, one of Pyongyang’s finest restaurants.
The item is said to have been suggested by Moon and, as Kim joked about earlier, required a noodle-making machine to be carried over with the North’s delegations so it can be prepared fresh.
In addition, the dictator brought his own toilet to avoid having to use a public one.
The leaders will also dine on John Dory, the favored fish in Moon’s childhood province of Busan, and a Korean take on rosti, the Swiss dish Kim ate while attending school in Switzerland.
The dessert, a mango mousse decorated with a map of the Korean Peninsula, resulted in an official complaint from Japan for showing islands it claims sovereignty over.
A crowd of South Koreans waving Korean Unification flags watch progress at the Inter Korean Summit on a screen in the city of Paju on Friday
A group of people in Koreatown, Los Angeles, watch the proceedings of the peace summit on a screen inside a restaurant
Members of South Korea’s National Unification Advisory Council, Los Angeles Chapter, watch a live broadcast of the meeting
But not everyone was happy about the developments – some South Korean conservative activists set fire to North Korean flags during this rally against the summit
Hundreds of activists gathered near the border village of Panmunjom to hold up signs warning about the threat posed by nuclear-armed North Korea
A South Korean activist holding up a sign opposing the talks. Voices from the North were much more hard to come by, but one Pyongyang resident, Jin Kum Il, told the party’s daily newspaper he hoped the talks were ‘successful’
Less controversial items on offer include citrus tea and beef from a ranch in South Korea, which became famous in 1998 the founder of Hyundai filled 50 trucks with 500 cattle from the ranch for a peace convoy to the Norht.
The ranch became famous in 1998 when late Hyundai founder Chung Ju-yung filled 50 trucks with 500 cattle and led them across the border to the North in an effort to aid reconciliation between the rivals.
‘This summit will focus more on denuclearization and securing of permanent peace than anything else,’ Moon’s office said on Thursday.
‘I feel North Korea is sending their key military officials to the summit as they too, believe denuclearization and peace are important.’
Kim has accompanied by nine officials. His sister, Kim Yo Jong, led the North’s delegation to the Winter Olympics in South Korea in February.
Kim Yong Nam, the North’s nominal head of state, also came along with Kim Yong Chol, a former intelligence chief and Choe Hwi, the chairman of a sports panel.
The North sent athletes to the Winter Olympics, where the neighbours also fielded a joint women’s ice hockey team.
Kim Yong Chol was previously chief of the Reconnaissance General Bureau, a North Korean military intelligence agency South Korea has blamed for the deadly 2010 sinking of the Cheonan, a South Korean navy corvette.
Also in the delegation are Ri Su Yong, a member of the North’s politburo and Ri Myong Su, the chief of the general staff of the Korean People’s Army.
Ministers on the trip include defence minister Pak Yong Sik, and foreign minister Ri Yong Ho, besides an official spearheading peaceful reunification efforts, Ri Son Gwon.
South Korea’s delegation is comprised of seven officials, including the ministers for defence, foreign affairs and unification.
The summit is only the third time the leaders of the divided Koreas have met in the 65 years since the end of the Korean War.
The previous meetings were held during a period of rapprochement and were followed by a decade of tense and cold relations.
A tentative thaw began earlier this year with North Korean participation in the Winter Olympics in South Korea’s Pyeongchang.
What happened in the other two North-South summits since 1953?
Friday’s summit between South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is only the third time the leaders of the divided Koreas have met in the 65 years since the end of the Korean War.
The previous meetings were held during a period of rapprochement and were followed by a decade of tense and cold relations.
A tentative thaw began earlier this year with North Korean participation in the Winter Olympics in South Korea’s Pyeongchang.
The first inter-Korean summit took place between former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, the late father of Kim Jong Un, and the liberal former president of South Korea, Kim Dae-jung.
First: A man looks the photos showing the summit between South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in 2000
The three-day meeting in June, which began with a broadly smiling Kim Jong Il tightly grabbing the hands of Kim Dae-jung at the Pyongyang airport, led to an agreement between the Koreas on joint economic projects, which have since stalled.
The countries also agreed to resume reunions of families divided between North and South.
Kim Dae-jung won the Nobel Peace Prize later in 2000 for his rapprochement policies with the North.
The Koreas held their second summit in October 2007 between Kim Jong Il and Roh Moo-hyun, Kim Dae-jung’s liberal successor and the political mentor of current South Korean President Moon.
Second: North Korean leader Kim Jong-il (right) and South Korea’s President Roh Moo-hyun toast during a farewell luncheon after meeting in Pyongyang on October 4, 2007
Mr Roh went to Pyongyang after crossing the demilitarised zone in a symbolic moment that grabbed international headlines.
Mr Kim and Mr Roh agreed to pursue a peace treaty to formally end the Korean War and reached a set of cooperation projects.
But most of the accords were shelved after Mr Roh’s single five-year term ended months later and he was replaced by a conservative who took a harder line over the North’s nuclear ambitions.