Moon, Kim take historic trip to sacred North Korean mountain
South Korean President Moon Jae-in, left, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un look at a picture of themselves shaking hands as they arrive to attend a welcome banquet in Pyongyang, North Korea, Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018. President Moon Jae-in began his third summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday with possibly his hardest mission to date brokering some kind of compromise to keep North Korea's talks with Washington from imploding and pushing ahead with his own plans to expand economic cooperation and bring a stable peace to the Korean Peninsula. (Pyongyang Press Corps Pool via AP)
Pyongyang :South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un embarked on a historic trip on Thursday to the summit of Mount Paekdu, a sacred mountain on the country’s border with China, at the end of their three-day bilateral summit. Kim and Moon, together with the respective first ladies Ri Sol-ju and Kim Jong-sook, took off in their presidential jets from Sunan airport in Pyongyang and landed about an hour later at the Samjiyon airfield the mountain, reports Efe news. A vehicle then took the two leaders to the foothills of the mountain, an inactive volcano, and they are expected to reach Chonji, the famous crater considered the greatest national symbol in both the North and South of the Korean peninsula. The highest mountain on the peninsula, Mount Paekdu is believed to be the place where the Korean people were born, according to traditional folklore. Very few South Koreans have managed to climb the crater from the South Slope, located in North Korea, due to the prolonged conflicts between the two countries. In the framework of the three bilateral summits that have been held this year, Moon, who was born in the South and is the son of North Korean refugees fleeing the war, had expressed to Kim his wish to visit Mount Paekdu from the North Korean side. Thursday’s visit shows again the good harmony between the two leaders as well as the growing rapprochement between the two countries, as on Wednesday Kim and Moon signed a joint declaration to strengthen bilateral ties and a treaty to reduce military tensions. The statement on Wednesday also reflects that North Korea is willing to dismantle more nuclear facilities in exchange for the US promise to implement what was agreed at the summit in Singapore in June, mainly in terms of guaranteeing the survival of the North Korean regime.