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North Korea Crisis

North Korean leader crosses border into South for historic summit

Kim meets Moon to discuss denuclearization on the peninsula

SEOUL -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un crossed the border into the southern part of Panmunjom, the truce village inside the Demilitarized Zone, on Friday morning, becoming the first head of the reclusive state to visit South Korea in the six decades since the Korean War.

Kim was welcomed by South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who was waiting for him on the southern side of the Military Demarcation Line.

They shook hands over the MDL and smiled broadly as they exchanged pleasantries. After stepping into the South, Kim invited Moon to cross the border to the northern side so that the two could stepped back over hand in hand.

Kim was presented with flowers by two South Korean fith-grade students and posed for photos with them and the South Korean leader.

The two then inspected a traditional Korean guard of honor before greeting ministers and military officers of both countries and making their way to Peace House, the summit venue.

Friday marks the third inter-Korean summit. The previous two meetings in 2000 and 2007 were held in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital.

Moon and Kim will discuss three topics during their meeting: denuclearization on the peninsula, the establishment of sustainable peace and an improvement in relations. The summit is also critical as it will directly affect the meeting between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump scheduled for May or early June, which is also aimed at the convincing North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons and missile programs.

The detente on the peninsula came abruptly in January when Kim announced in his New Year speech that he would send the country's athletes to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games and expressed his will to improve relations with Seoul. Kim then sent his sister Kim Yo Jong as a special envoy to the games in February, during which she invited Moon to Pyongyang. They later agreed to hold a summit in Panmunjom.

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