Watch the North and South Korean leaders’ historic handshake on the Korean demilitarized zone

  • The meeting embodied a strikingly different tone as the leaders discussed prospects for peace.
  • The presidents can be seen smiling and walking together, ahead of talks during which South Korea's President Moon Jae-In hoped to convince Kim to "to adopt a joint statement on the denuclearization of North Korea," according to one of Moon's advisors.
  • North and South Korea have technically still been at war since the Korean War that began in 1950, as cessation of the conflict was only enabled by an armistice signed in 1953 rather than a peace agreement.

The leaders of North and South Korea made history Friday, shaking hands on the heavily-fortified demilitarized zone separating the two countries in the first such summit in more than a decade.

The meeting, which comes after more than five years of missile tests and threats from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, embodied a strikingly different tone as the leaders discussed prospects for peace.

Recent weeks have seen a distinct softening in tone from the government of the northern rogue state, which has been under international sanctions for years over its ballistic missile tests, nuclear weapons development and human rights abuses. An opening of bilateral relations and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula were the primary topics at hand.

The presidents can be seen smiling and walking together, ahead of talks during which South Korea's President Moon Jae-In hoped to convince Kim "to adopt a joint statement on the denuclearization of North Korea," according to one of Moon's advisors. Moon was elected president in 2017 on a promise of improving relations with the North, which have been hostile since the Korean War that began in 1950 and saw well over 1 million people killed.

North and South Korea have technically still been at war since then, as cessation of fighting was only enabled by an armistice signed in 1953 rather than a peace agreement.

"We are at a starting line today, where a new history of peace, prosperity and inter-Korean relations is being written," Kim said before the two Korean leaders and top aides began talks at the border truce village of Panmunjom.

But while denuclearization is a priority for South Korea and the West and Kim has recently expressed openness to discussing it, its success is far from guaranteed.

Kim Jong Un is expected to meet with President Donald Trump in May or June, and in early April met with outgoing CIA director Mike Pompeo in a secret meeting disclosed just last week.

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