[THE INVESTOR] South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on May 26 held a surprise meeting aimed at strengthening inter-Korean ties amid uncertainty over the future of a planned summit between the United States and North Korea.
In a text message sent to reporters, presidential chief press secretary Yoon Young-chan said the leaders of the two Koreas held a two-hour meeting at Panmungak, a North Korean building inside the border village of Panmunjeom.
The meeting came about a month after the first inter-Korean summit took place at a South Korean building inside Panmunjeom. During the meeting on Apr 27, Moon and Kim adopted a joint declaration, pledging an end to cross-border hostilities.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in (left) shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un
“The two leaders candidly exchanged their opinions on the implementation of the April 27 Panmunjom joint declaration and successful staging of the US-North Korea summit set for June 12 in Singapore,” Yoon said.
The press secretary however, declined to elaborate further and said details of the summit would be revealed Sunday by President Moon himself. It was the decision made by the two Koreas, Yoon said.
Reporters were not notified of the summit beforehand and it was only attended by the two Koreas’ incumbent and former spymasters: South Korea’s National Intelligence Service Director Suh-hoon and Kim Young-chul, former chief of the North’s Reconnaissance General Bureau.
According to pictures and footage released by Cheong Wa Dae, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un hugged President Moon while escorting him after the summit. Kim Jong-un’s younger sister Kim Yo-jong, who attended the first inter-Korean summit on April 27, escorted Moon before the summit.
The meeting came amid doubts over the prospect of the US-North Korea summit, which US President Donald Trump had initially decided to cancel. However, he hinted Friday that the meeting could happen after all and would “likely” happen on the originally scheduled date.
While expressing regret over the cancellation of the Trump-Kim summit, President Moon has called for the two countries’ leaders to communicate directly to rekindle the momentum for denuclearization talks.
By Yeo Jun-suk/The Korea Herald (firstname.lastname@example.org)