After years of conflict and tension, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korea’s President Moon Jae-In will meet on Friday in an effort to ease tensions related to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. The North Korean leader will travel to South Korea, marking the first time a North Korean leader has been in South Korea since the Korean War. This is the first of two historic meetings Kim will attend in the near future. He is also scheduled to meet with President Donald Trump in May or June in what will be the first meeting of sitting leaders from North Korea and the United States. When Moon Jae-In took office in May, he spoke often and strongly about a desire to talk with Kim. He is seen as being instrumental in bringing Trump and Kim together for dialogue.
Moon will meet Kim at military demarcation lines at 9:30 a.m local time. Honor guards will escort them to an official welcoming ceremony, and the two leaders will begin their meeting at 10:30 a.m. The location of their historic discussion will be a South Korean building called Peace House, which is located inside the border truce village of Panmunjom. Some significant moments, like the two leaders meeting with a handshake, will be broadcast live. Moon is hopeful that Kim will confirm his recently announced decision to suspend nuclear testing and dismantle North Korea’s only known nuclear testing site. Reuters reports that the two leaders expect to release a joint statement on denuclearization and peace, possibly titled the Panmunjom Declaration, on Friday afternoon. Discussions about peace between these two countries is significant because the Korean War (1950-1953) ended in a truce, not in peace.
Adding to the significance of this week’s summit between North and South Korean leaders is its location. The Demilitarized Zone is an area of land that measures 160 miles in length and 2.5 miles in width. It was created by the Korean Armistice Agreement that ended the Korean War. Armed soldiers from both countries populated the DMZ, and both countries blasted propaganda messages through loud speakers. In a gesture of goodwill, South Korea turned off its propaganda broadcasts on Monday. South Koreans living near the DMZ reported Tuesday that North Korean broadcasts also seem to have stopped.