President Moon Jae-in (right) and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un hold a brief chat prior to their summit, in the lobby of the Peace House, the venue for the 2018 Inter-Korean Summit, in Panmunjeom on April 27.
2018 Inter-Korean Summit Press Corps
President Moon Jae-in and North Korea`s Chairman of the State Affairs Committee Kim Jong Un held a summit meeting at the Peace House in Panmunjeom on April 27.
The two leaders expressed their hope to improve inter-Korean ties and their will for unification.
In particular, the two leaders expressed a common understanding on the need to accelerate the speed of the establishment of peace and unification.
Presidential Senior Secretary for Public Relations Yoon Young-chan unveiled the unofficial conversation between the two leaders in a press briefing at the Panmunjeom Press Center.
While walking toward the venue for the welcome ceremony, President Moon told the North Korean leader that, “The traditional marching band we see here today is actually a simplified version. If you come to Cheong Wa Dae, I`ll show you a much better one.”
Chairman Kim responded by saying that, “I`d be willing to come to Cheong Wa Dae, if invited.”
Upon entering the summit venue, the second floor of the Peace House, Kim said, “When I was walking across the 200 meters [to cross the Military Demarcation Line], I was thinking, ‘Why does it look so far?` and, `Why does it look so difficult?’”
The Northern leader told President Moon that, “I hope we can cherish the opportunity today so that it can become a chance to heal the wounds between the North and the South. The MDL isn`t even that high, and I believe it will eventually disappear when many people step over to cross it.”
President Moon told his North Korean counterpart that, “Many people greeted me on my way to Panmunjeom from Cheong Wa Dae. That shows just how high expectations are for today’s meeting.”
“My shoulders are heavy with such a burden. I hope today’s meeting in Panmunjeom can be followed by future meetings in Pyeongyang, Seoul, on Jeju Island and at Baekdusan Mountain.”
President Moon said, “Chairman Kim and I are the main characters today.”
“We would do well to reflect on the failures of the past. I said that, during the rest of my term in office, I hope that we can maintain this same speed that we`ve had ever since Chairman Kim’s New Year’s Eve speech,” said President Moon. Smiling, Kim said, “The department where my sister works came up with the catchphrase `malima speed battle,` meaning at the speed of a war horse. I guess that can be the speed for unification of the two Koreas.”
In the joke, he was referring to his sister, Kim Yo Jong, first vice department director at the Central Committee of the Workers Party of Korea.
Explaining a picture of the Jangbaek Waterfall at Baekdusan Mountain and of the Seongsan Sunrise Peak, President Moon said, “I`ve never been to Baekdusan Mountain myself, but I hope I can go there by traveling to North Korea.”
“You might experience some inconvenience or embarrassment due to the lack of transportation in the North, compared to the South, but we`ll do our best so that you can travel to the North in comfort,” Kim responded.
“If we connect the railroad, both North and South could use it, and that`s actually contained in the previous June 15 South-North Joint Declaration and in the October 4 Declaration," President Moon said. “It`s a pity that it wasn`t realized, due to changes in the inter-Korean relationship,” he added.
Chairman Kim said, “Although we failed to make it over the past 11 years, we`ve made such great developments in just 100 days. If we have the firm determination and work together hand-in-hand, nothing will be impossible,” emphasizing the importance of mutual trust and faith.
“We should meet more often,” said the North Korean leader. “Let`s commit ourselves to working together, and never go back to the initial starting point,” said Kim.