Update 2: A live feed from inside the room, as Kim Jong Un, seated next to his sister, offers opening remarks to Moon Jae-in, together with intelligence chief Suh Hoon to his right and chief of staff Im Jong-seok to his left.
Meanwhile, here’s the message Kim Jong Un wrote on the guestbook at the Peace House summit venue, which reads “A new history begins now – at the starting point of history and the era of peace.” (h/t Hawon Jung)
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Update: *KIM JONG UN BECOMES FIRST NORTH KOREAN LEADER TO ENTER SOUTH
As AP reports, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has made history by crossing over to the southern side of the world’s most heavily armed border to meet rival South Korean President Moon Jae-in. It’s the first time a member of the Kim dynasty has set foot on southern soil since the end of the Korean War in 1953 and the latest bid to settle the world’s last Cold War standoff.
The overwhelming focus of the summit, the country’s third-ever, will be on North Korea’s growing arsenal of nuclear weapons.
Kim’s news agency said earlier Friday that the leader would “open-heartedly” discuss with Moon “all the issues arising in improving inter-Korean relations.”
The two leaders shook hands and inspected an honor guard before later holding a closed-door discussion about Kim’s nuclear weapons.
Across the Pacific, the White House said it is hopeful the summit between the two Korean leaders will achieve progress toward peace.
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.”
Follow photos of Kim emerging from North Korea and crossing over into the South.
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As reported earlier, in a meeting that’s widely seen as a preamble to a historic summit involving President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the leaders of the two Koreas – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in – are meeting at the border at 9:30 am local time on Friday (Thursday 8:30pm EDT).
The summit will take place in the Peace House in in the border town of Panmunjom, located in the heart of the demilitarized zone.
Im Jong-seok, the chief of staff for President Moon, provided a full itinerary of the meeting – which will involve the ceremonial planting of a pine tree on the border – to Bloomberg:
- Kim to walk across border to South
- Kim to review South Korean military’s honor guard after walking together with Moon
- Moon, Kim to start summit at 10:30am local time Friday
- Moon, Kim to have lunch separately after morning meeting
- Moon, Kim to plant pine tree on border after lunch
- Moon, Kim to walk together around border before afternoon session
- Two Koreas to sign, announce agreements after summit
- Moon to host banquet for Kim from 6:30pm at peace house
- No Plan to extend summit to Saturday for now
- S. Korea: undecided whether Kim’s wife will accompany; hopes Kim’s wife to join dinner
- Kim Jong Un’s sister part of North Korean delegation
- S. Korea says issues related to denuclearization can’t be fully resolved at the inter-Korean summit; S. Korea would consider the summit a success if the North’s intention of denuclearization is included in the agreement
During the summit, Kim will become the first North Korean leader to cross the DMZ. According to watchers, if the two leaders can produce a written statement of understanding “on a broad set of issues”, then the meeting would be considered a success.
That said, as Bloomberg’s Kyoungwha Kim writes, Friday’s summit marks “only the start of what even optimists would tell you is sure to be a long, fraught road toward a denuclearized and peaceful Korean peninsula.” The analyst lays out some key subjects markets are watching for developments.
- Denuclearization — Investors would like to see a concerted commitment to starting the denuclearization process, in writing and with a timetable
- Peace Treaty — Will this meeting officially put an end to the 1950-53 Korean war?
- Economic access and development — how would Kim open up North Korea’s economy? Could he use China as a role model for economic development? Or could he rely on inter-Korean economic cooperation as a gateway to the outside world?
Whatever the outcome is, Seoul’s financial markets look set for a sunny day, carrying over from Thursday’s excitement. Equity futures indicate a strong open for the Kospi, while one-month USD/KRW NDFs are defying the dollar’s bounce.
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