In a historic meeting on Friday that sparked hope of lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula after decades of hostilities, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in embraced at the border village of Panmunjom and agreed to work toward bringing an official end to the Korean War and fully denuclearizing the peninsula.
"I was very moved by the scenes of Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un together, in part because I know all my friends and comrades in Korea were watching with deep love and hopes for their country."
"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 endeavour to strengthen the positive momentum towards continuous advancement of inter-Korean relations," reads the "Panmunjom Declaration," a document signed by both leaders on Friday. "South and North Korea confirmed the common goal of realising, through complete denuclearisation, a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula."
As the monumental summit between the two nations progressed, videos of Kim and Moon embracing circulated on social media and were hailed by experts as truly heartening displays of diplomacy after months of heightened nuclear tensions—fueled in large part by the belligerent rhetoric of U.S. President Donald Trump.
Watch Moon and Kim shake hands and exchange greetings at the concrete border separating their nations:
— Jeffs (@jeffs_araujo35) April 27, 2018
After Kim steps over into South Korean territory for the first time, he asks Moon to walk over to the Northern side:
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) April 27, 2018
Finally, after signing the "Panmunjom Declaration," Kim and Moon shook hands once more and hugged it out:
— CNN (@CNN) April 27, 2018
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Responding to the summit on Twitter, Christine Ahn, founder of the peace group Women Cross DMZ, wrote it is "deeply touching to watch Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae shake hands, cross together on both sides of the [demilitarized zone], and make peace and history!"
Other Korea experts echoed Ahn's celebration of the historic meeting—which makes Kim the first North Korean leader to visit the South—arguing it is a crucial and genuine step toward peace that must be built upon, especially with "warmongers" occupying the highest levels of the American foreign policy establishment under Trump.
History is being made in the Peace House of Korea. Tremendous first steps toward peace in Korea. Let's not allow the naysayers and Washington/Seoul warmongers to derail the momentum. #KoreaSummit #KimJongUn #MoonJaeIn https://t.co/cxV27YvUi4
— Subrata Ghoshroy (@s_ghoshroy) April 27, 2018
I was very moved by the scenes of Moon Jae In and Kim Jong Un together, in part because I know all my friends and comrades in Korea were watching with deep love and hopes for their country. We need to support Korea's desire for peace as much as we are able. #KoreaSummit
— Tim Shorrock (@TimothyS) April 27, 2018
Kim and Moon's summit on Friday come ahead of a possible meeting between the North Korean leader and Trump, who now has two men who have both supported regime change in North Korea whispering in his ear—national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
A date for the Trump-Kim meeting has not yet been determined.
In a tweet on Friday, Trump—who has attempted to take credit for Kim's moves toward diplomacy, even though experts argue the recent peace talks are due to the persistent efforts of the South Korean president—vaguely wrote, "Good things are happening, but only time will tell!"
Trump went on to add that "the United States, and all of its great people, should be very proud of what is now taking place in Korea," but made no mention of the Korean people.
Never thought I'd see a tweet like this. But he should be thanking the Korean people and their leaders for this monumental agreement. Most of our leaders - particularly our thought leaders, pundits and "experts" - were dead set against this. You won't hear mea culpas from them. https://t.co/LgV7QeCppe
— Tim Shorrock (@TimothyS) April 27, 2018