North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been pulling out the diplomatic stops lately. Not only did he embrace South Korean culture a few weeks ago by attending a K-pop concert and suspending nuclear tests, but Kim has made good on his word to attend the Inter-Korean summit. Indeed, he historically crossed the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between the North and South and became the first North Korean leader to ever do so.
The Washington Post reports that Kim did bring his own personal toilet (which he apparently takes everywhere to avoid public restrooms), but he crossed the border with his own two feet. He and South Korean President Moon Jae-in shook hands at the Peace House building in Panmunjom (the truce village), and they sat down for a highly anticipated summit. The New York Times reports on the undeniable symbolism of the occasion:
After the two leaders posed for photos, they crossed briefly into the North’s territory at Mr. Kim’s suggestion, another highly symbolic moment. They then stepped backed into South Korean territory, holding hands, and walked down a red carpet to inspect a South Korean military honor guard and enter the Peace House.
“All the eyes and ears of the world are on Panmunjom today,” Mr. Moon said.
The Times notes that despite the visible gestures of good will and the cessation of North Korean nuke and missile tests (which may have been unavoidable, given that North Korea’s nuclear testing site recently collapsed), Kim was “not expected to capitulate” to nuclear disarmament. However, Reuters now reports that the two sides have agreed to work toward “complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula,” at least at some point.