Kim Jong-un has become the first North-Korean leader to cross the border with South Korea, to “write a new chapter” for the two states.
South Korean leader Moon Jae-in and Kim both shook hands at the border, which has divided the countries since 1953.
“I hope to write a new chapter between us, this is the starting point for us. We will make a new beginning,” said Kim. “It has taken 11 years for this historic moment to happen. Walking here, I wondered why it has taken so long.”
“Through today’s meeting, I hope we won’t go back to square one again and that there won’t be a repeat of the non-implementation of what we agree,” he said, referring to the failed past deals on nuclear weapons. “I hope we can live up to people’s exceptions.”
Details of the talks between the talks between the two leaders will not become clear until Friday. Analysts have suggested that the talks will offer little substance and the emphasis lies in the symbolism of the meeting.
Van Jackson, a former policy adviser to the US secretary of defence, said: “It’s high on symbolism and definitely exciting, but you have to ask yourself what does the symbolism amount to?”
“Both men have a strong desire to make this look good, but I don’t see anything coming out of this except building momentum for a Kim-Trump meeting.”
“It’s great to have good vibes going into the Trump summit, but you need to put emotion aside and wonder what this means on the question of nukes, which is not much,” he said. “Kim says he wants peace and denuclearisation, but what that means to him won’t be acceptable to South Korea or the US.”
Trump and Kim are due to meet later this year, a momentous occasion where no US President has ever met with a North Korean leader.