Kim-Jong Un Shakes Hands With South Korean Leader In Iconic Photo At Border

Kim Jong-un has become the first North Korean dictator to cross into South Korea for 65 years, having been met by the South's President Moon Jae-in in the demilitarised zone for a historic peace summit.

The two former enemies were photographed shaking hands, marking the beginning of the first meeting of the North and South Korean leaders in over a decade.

According to CNN, as the two stood in front of the crowds, Kim told Moon that he felt the weight of meeting at 'such a historic location' - to which Moon replied: "It was a very courageous decision for you to come all the way here."

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

South Korean onlookers applauded the important greeting, with one local resident, Kwak Eun-jung, telling CNN: "I didn't think I would be able to see such things happening in my life. I am happy to be witness to history in the making."

Kim had arrived at 9.30am local time (12.30am GMT), when Moon walked to meet him at the military demarcation line to shake hands.

Hands still together, Moon then invited Kim into the South, gesturing him to step over the line - and to sign a guestbook in the Peace House.

"New history starts from now, at the historic starting point of an era of peace," Kim wrote.

In televised footage, Kim also said that he was ready for 'heartfelt, sincere and honest' discussions with the South Korean leader.

"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 added.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Moon responded by explaining that their agreement will be groundbreaking not only for North and South Korea, but also across the globe - referring to it as a 'big gift to the entire Korean nation and every peace loving person in the world'.

While a great deal of their exchange was highly choreographed and scripted, there were apparently moments for some jokes. According to the Daily Mail, Kim even referenced his decision to stop firing missiles, quipping to Moon that he 'won't interrupt your early morning sleep anymore'.

They had some nice scran, too, chowing down on dishes from both North and South Korea - including a cold noodle dish called naengmyeon, John Dory (which is a popular fish in Moon's childhood province of Busan) and a mango mousse that had been decorated with a map of the Korean Peninsula.

At the end of the summit, Kim and Moon are set to sign a pact and make an announcement.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

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', adding that it looked forward to continuing discussions in preparation for the planned meeting between US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un in the coming weeks.

Adam Mount, senior fellow at the Federation of American Scientists, told CNN that, while Moon has laid firm groundwork for a potentially peaceful co-existence with North Korea, it is now up to Pyongyang and Washington to continue the work.

"The success of this summit will not be known today but will depend on the reactions from Washington and Pyongyang over the coming days and weeks. North Korean cheating and US ambivalence has caused the collapse of all previous openings," he said.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Jess Hardiman

Jess Hardiman is a journalist who graduated from Manchester University with a BA in Film Studies, English Language and Literature, and has previously worked for Time Out and The Skinny among others.

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