North Korean leader Kim Jong-un became the first North Korean leader to enter South Korean territory since the end of the Korean War in 1953. The meeting between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in is the first between the two men in over a decade, reported CNN.
The two will take part in a leadership summit to engage in talks regarding such topics as denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, as well as improving overall relations between the two countries. The importance of the meeting could be seen before it even began. A boy and girl handed the leaders flowers, a red carpet was rolled out, and traditional South Korean music played as the two men made their way to the Peace House. Once there, Kim even signed a guest book in Korean with the phrase, "A new history starts now. An age of peace, from the starting point of history."
To mark the beginning of a new era between the two countries, a memorial tree will also be planted at the border's truce village of Panmunjom. In the days leading up to the summit, North Korea even suspended its nuclear and long-range missile testing and dismantled its sole nuclear test site. According to translations of opening remarks, South Korean President Moon said, "Comrade Kim, for the first time in our history you crossed the military demarcation line. It is no longer a symbol of division but a symbol of peace."
Despite past conflict, a meeting between Kim and Donald Trump is also scheduled to take place in the coming months and will likely take place sometime in May or June to discuss ending North Korea's nuclear program. More recently, Trump has referred to the North Korean dictator as a "very honorable" person, a confusing sentiment given that just months prior he was referring to him as "Little Rocket Man" and challenging his country's nuclear superiority on Twitter.
The White House issued an official statement regarding today's historic meeting that read, "On the occasion of Republic of Korea President Moon Jae-in’s historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, we wish the Korean people well. We are hopeful that talks will achieve progress toward a future of peace and prosperity for the entire Korean Peninsula. The United States appreciates the close coordination with our ally, the Republic of Korea, and looks forward to continuing robust discussions in preparation for the planned meeting between President Donald J. Trump and Kim Jong Un in the coming weeks."