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(EDITORIAL from Korea Times on Sept. 21)

Editorials from Korean Dailies 07:06 September 21, 2018

Moon, Kim hold hands at Mount Paekdu

President Moon Jae-in's Pyongyang visit culminated in an unprecedented visit to Mount Paekdu Thursday morning with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Accompanied by their wives, the leaders of the two Koreas held hands on the highest peak of the Korean Peninsula. Without a doubt, this will be remembered as one of the most iconic moments in the history of inter-Korean summit diplomacy. Cheong Wa Dae explained that Kim suggested the trip to the mountain, and Moon, an avid climber who has long wanted to visit it, accepted. The President mentioned his wish to visit Mount Paekdu when he hosted a dinner for Kim during their first summit in April.

The two leaders' historic trip to the mountain which has a special meaning for the people of the two Koreas reflects their unwavering determination to expedite reconciliation of the two Koreas. It also shows how close the two leaders have become after repeated meetings this year, starting with their first summit at the southern side of the truce village of Panmunjeom on April 27. They met for the second time on the northern side of Panmunjeom in May.

During their third summit this week, the two leaders produced the Pyongyang Joint Declaration, which was hailed as significant momentum for achieving North Korea's denuclearization. U.S. President Donald Trump showed a positive reaction to the outcome of the summit. The two leaders also agreed on various measures to reduce military tension on the Korean Peninsula.

Another memorable aspect of Moon's trip was his speech at a mass performance in Pyongyang Wednesday. It was the first time for a South Korean head of state to give a public speech to the North Korean people. More than 150,000 citizens were present.

One of the most impressive aspects of the declaration is that Kim committed to visit Seoul in the document. If realized, it would be the first time for a North Korean leader to visit the nation's capital. The June 15 Joint Declaration, produced during the first inter-Korean summit in Pyongyang between former President Kim Dae-jung and Kim Jong-il, the incumbent's father, states that Kim will visit Seoul "at an appropriate time." But Kim Jong-il died in December 2011 without making the visit.

This time, the North Korean leader must keep his word to visit Seoul to prove his sincerity toward implementing the agreements reached between him and President Moon.

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