Kim, Moon hold first round of talks in Pyongyang

Kim, Moon hold first round of talks in Pyongyang

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Leaders of the two Koreas meet at the Workers’ Party headquarters
Dagyum Ji
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in met Tuesday afternoon for the first round of talks in what is expected to be a three-day summit.The talks lasted from 1545 to 1745 local time at the headquarters of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK): the first time that the leaders of the two Koreas have met at that venue.
Moon wrote “the heart of the nation is united in peace and prosperity” in a visitors book before the talks began.
In opening remarks, Kim Jong Un praised the South Korean President’s efforts to improve relations and said the two had become “really close.”
“It’s no exaggeration to say that the historic DPRK-U.S. meeting could take place thanks to President Moon,” Kim continued.
“The situation has been stabilized due to [the summit]and more advanced achievements are expected. I, once again, express my gratitude toward the efforts that President Moon has made.”
Moon, in turn, thanked Kim for his willingness “to open a new era” in relations between the two and praised the North’s recent economic development.
“I was surprised driving through Pyongyang city as it has developed remarkably,” the South Korean President said. “I express my respect for chairman Kim’s leadership, which has improved the quality of people’s life under tough conditions.”
“I hope this summit can produce a fruitful result as a gift for the Chuseok holidays for 80 million people,” he continued – a reference to the upcoming Korean holiday. “I hope we can show a result of peace and prosperity to people around the world.”
South Korea’s head of the presidential National Security Office Chung Eui-yong and head of National Intelligence Service (NIS) Suh Hoon were present at the meeting.
First vice department director of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) Kim Yo Jong and director of the United Front Department and vice-chairman of the WPK Central Committee Kim Yong Chol, in turn, accompanied Kim Jong Un.
The South Korean presidential office on Monday announced that the two leaders would discuss three topics at this week’s summit: the improvement of inter-Korean relations, mediation and facilitation of the DPRK-U.S. nuclear negotiations, and the elimination of military tension and the threat of the war.
President Moon arrived in Pyongyang just before 1000 local time Tuesday and was met at Sunan International Airport by Kim Jong Un.
The two leaders then drove through central Pyongyang together, with throngs of North Koreans on the streets to greet the South Korean President.
Before a luncheon at the Paekhwawon Guest House, Moon said that “spring in Panmunjom leads to autumn in Pyongyang,” and thanked the North for the warm welcome.
“Our shoulders are heavy, but I think a meeting will go well as we have built up trust and friendship,” he told Kim.
The North Korean leader responded by apologizing if the accommodation prepared by the North Korean side was seen as too “humble” compared to developed countries Moon had visited.
“I’ve been looking forward today,” he added. “We’ve prepared the accommodation and schedule with all sincerity, so please accept with broad mind even though they may be below expectations.”
Meanwhile, the two Koreas’ first ladies Ri Sol Ju and Kim Jung-sook visited the Okyru Children’s Hospital and the Kim Won Gyun University of Music in Taedonggang District of Pyongyang.
Representatives of government-run companies and business leaders, including Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-Yong and Hyundai Group chairwoman and CEO Hyun Jeong-eun, also met with Vice-Premier of the Cabinet Ri Ryong Nam and other North Korean officials.
President of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly Kim Yong Nam, too, held the meeting with a special entourage of South Korean government officials on Tuesday afternoon.
The South Korean delegation will attend a welcome art performance of Samjiyon Orchestra at the Pyongyang Grand Theater from 1730 local time, followed by a banquet held at the Mokran House. – NK News
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured Image: Pyeongyang Press Corps

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