South Korean President Moon Jae-in traveled to Pyongyang Tuesday to hold peace talks with the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. This is the third summit this year between the two leaders, which are looking to establish peace on the Korean Peninsula. Both leaders met each other twice this year at the border village of Panmunjom in April and May.
Moon, the first South Korean leader to visit North Korea since 2007, before leaving Seoul, tweeted, "What I want to achieve is peace. Not a tentative change which could be volatile, dependant on the international situation, but an irreversible, permanent and unwavering peace, regardless of what might happen in the global arena."
Apart from critical denuclearization talks, both leaders have vowed to bring an end to the Korean War. The 1950-1953 war ended in a ceasefire but has never been finalized with a peace treaty. Kim is also reportedly looking towards greater economic cooperation with the South while seeking sanctions relief imposed by the United Nations.
Kim Jong Un also expressed his gratitude towards Moon for playing a role of mediator between the former and the U.S. President Donald Trump in June when the leaders met at Singapore to talk about North Korea’s denuclearization.
The first session of the talks, which lasted for two hours, were held at the headquarters of the North’s ruling Workers’ Party Central Committee, with party vice chairman Kim Yong Chol and Kim Jong Un’s sister Kim Yo Jong, as well as South Korea’s national security adviser Chung Eui-Yong and spy chief Suh Hoon in attendance.
This third inter-Korea summit is also considered to be a litmus test for the meeting between Trump and Kim Jong Un which the North Korean leader proposed. “If North Korea-U.S. dialogue is restarted after this visit, it would have much significance in itself,” Moon said before his departure.
“I think it was our people’s wish that we come up with good results as fast as we can,” Kim said, according to the media pool reports.
Moon responded that “Our hearts are fluttering, but at the same we have heavy hearts,” and added, “We have built trust and friendship between us, so I think all will be well.”
South Korean business tycoons, including Samsung scion Jay Y Lee and the chief of SK Group and LG Group, traveled with Moon to North Korea. They will meet with North Korean Deputy Prime Minister Ri Ryong Nam, who is in charge of economic affairs. Even though this indicates a possibility of trade between the two countries, Seoul officials said they did not expect any specific joint economic projects to be agreed given extensive international sanctions.
On Wednesday, Moon and Kim plan to hold a second day of official talks. They are later expected to unveil a joint statement, and a separate military pact designed to defuse tensions and prevent armed clashes.