South Korean President Moon Jae-in (R) meets with top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Kim Jong Un in the border village of Panmunjom on April, 27, 2018.(Xinhua/Inter-Korean Summit Press Corps)
Top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in met on Friday at the truce village of Panmunjom for a historic summit.
The summit, 11 years after a previous one, comes after relations between Seoul and Pyongyang took a turn for the better since the start of this year and rekindles hope for a lasting peace on the peninsula.
A beaming Kim was greeted by Moon and shook hands with him right above a concrete slab at Panmunjom, which serves as an inter-Korean border roughly along the 38th parallel dividing the two Koreas.
After walking across the military demarcation line (MDL) into the South Korean side, Kim, in a dark blue suit, invited Moon to briefly cross the border into the DPRK side. The episode aroused applause from people at the scene.
Their hand-shaking marks a historic moment in inter-Korean relations. Kim became the first DPRK leader to step onto South Korean soil since the end of the 1950-1953 Korean War ended in an armistice.
The top-level meeting under a slogan of "Peace, a New Start" is the third summit between the two Koreas after the first and second ones in 2000 and 2007.
After their formal, closed-door talks at the Peace House, on the South Korean side of the border village of Panmunjom, the two leaders pledged to end the Koran War and reaffirmed their commitment to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a joint declaration.
They also agreed to reduce their conventional weapons pending the outcome of their joint efforts to reduce military tensions and promote a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.
"A new history begins now -- at the starting point of an era of peace," read the message Kim wrote in a guestbook at the Peace House.
"The moment Kim crossed the military demarcation line for the first time in history has turned Panmunjom from being a symbol of division into one of peace," Moon said before their talks.
"This is a very important meeting, especially as it is now clear that the possibility of a peace treaty, formally ending the Korean War, might be discussed and process to complete it agreed," said professor Hugh White, a strategic studies expert from the Australian National University.