DPRK leader Kim Jong Un on Friday expressed his hope for talks with an “open-hearted” attitude with ROK President Moon Jae-in as the third inter-Korean summit began at Panmunjom.
In an opening speech following a handshake with Moon across the Military Demarcation Line (MDL), Kim Jong Un called for his South Korean counterpart to help “resolve pending issues by holding talks on a frequent basis.”
“I walked along for 200 meters with such mixed feelings and thoughts that we can make a good step making up for the lost 11 years if we put our minds together, gather our will, move forward with such will,” he said.
Speaking in front of President Moon and reporters, the North Korean leader said he had crossed the MDL hoping to achieve “good results” with an “open-hearted, sincere and frank” attitude.
“I came here with the determination to shoot a signal flare while standing at a starting point of the moment when a new history of the inter-Korean relations, peace and property, is written,” he told Moon.
Kim expressed his hope for the two leaders not to repeat the mistakes of the past.
“Using this meeting as an opportunity, I hope we can pave the way to move forward holding hands while looking to the future and sharing the goals,” Kim said.
Pyongyang and Seoul, he added, should have a future-oriented stance “rather than going back to square one like we did in the past.”
The North Korean leader also mentioned the menu planned for a welcoming banquet later in the day, saying his delegation had brought Pyongyang cold noodles all the way from the DPRK capital “with difficulty.”
“I hope the President can have Pyongyang cold-noodles with relish and relaxed mind…,” Kim said.
Kim joked that the Pyongyang cold noodles had come from far away from the venue for talks, before retracting his remarks by saying: “I shouldn’t have said it’s far.”
In response to Kim’s overture, Moon Jae-in said he and Kim could give “big gift” to the world through the summit.
“There are high expectations from our people and the world, I’d like to express my respect to [Kim’s] resolute decision again to make the situation like today,” Moon said.
“I hope we can give a big gift to all the people in the world who hope for peace of our entire nation by having dialogue in a bold manner and reaching an agreement.”
Moon said the two leaders shouldered heavy responsibility and that the world’s eyes and ears were focused on Panmunjom, adding that South Koreans and “overseas compatriots” had high hopes for the meeting.
Both Kim and Moon were flanked by two officials at Friday’s meeting.
On the North Korean side sat first vice-department director of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) Kim Yo Jong and Kim Yong Chol, who serves as vice-chairman of WPK Central Committee and director of the party’s United Front Department.
South Korean Chief Presidential Secretary Im Jong-seok and National Intelligence Service (NIS) director Suh Hoon, in turn, accompanied President Moon.
The DPRK leader earlier signed a guestbook at the Peace House, according to the Inter-Korean Summit Press Corps, writing that “a new history starts from now on, at the beginning of the history of the era of peace.”
The two leaders now head into talks, which are expected to last several hours.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured image: Inter-Korean Summit Press Corps
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