The two previous inter-Korean summits

The two previous inter-Korean summits

Kim Dae Jung
File photo taken on Jun 14, 2000 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and South Korean President Kim Dae-Jung joining hands during a historic summit between the two countries in the North Korean capital city of Pyongyang. (Photo: KOREA POOL/AFP)

SEOUL: North and South Korea announced on Tuesday (Mar 6) that they will hold their third summit next month, following previous top-level meetings in 2000 and 2007.

Here is a summary of what happened at the earlier summits:

2000

The first inter-Korean summit was in Pyongyang in June 2000, an emotional event that raised hopes of Korean reunification.

It marked the first time South Koreans were able to see live images from the North on television.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Il surprised the world with a rare foray into the international spotlight by personally going to the airport to greet President Kim Dae-Jung on Jun 13.

Hundreds of thousands lined the streets of Pyongyang to give a carefully stage-managed hero's welcome to the visiting leader.

"I am happy to see you, I have wanted to for a long time," Kim Dae-Jung told his host.

"We are the same Chosun (Korean) people. The day of June 13 will go down in history as a landmark," Kim Jong Il said.

On Jun 14 the two leaders signed an accord on reducing tensions from Cold War-era levels, and boosting efforts for reunification.

The accord included moving towards a permanent peace on the Korean peninsula - which has remained technically at war since the 1953 ceasefire - and bringing together families divided since Korea was split in 1945.

At a farewell lunch on Jun 15 the two leaders joined hands to sing "Our Wish Is Unification".

On his arrival back in Seoul, Kim Dae-Jung said: "I return with the firm conviction that unification can be achieved."

The meeting was applauded by world leaders, with the United States hailing a "new day of hope".

But while the summit helped earn Kim Dae-Jung a Nobel Peace Prize, it later emerged a secret transfer of up to US$500 million had been paid to North Korea just prior to the meeting.

Critics denounced the "cash-for-summit" scandal as a bribe to Pyongyang.

2007

The second summit, also in Pyongyang, came amid an upbeat mood in six-nation negotiations over North Korea's nuclear disarmament, following its nuclear test a year earlier.

In a highly symbolic gesture, South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun on Oct 2 walked some 30 metres across the heavily fortified border with North Korea before returning to his motorcade to reach the talks.

The frontier "has divided the nation for half a century. It has caused enormous pain to our nation and hampered development," he said in comments televised worldwide.

He was personally greeted by Kim Jong Il, dressed in his trademark military-style brown jumpsuit, in another surprise welcome.

In their declaration signed on Oct 4, the leaders called for a nuclear-free peninsula and a permanent peace pact between the two Koreas.

"The South and North will not take a hostile stance towards each other and will reduce military tension and resolve issues of conflict through dialogue and negotiation," the declaration said.

They agreed to step up trade, travel and political exchanges, and agreed to hold summits frequently in future.

At the end of the meeting, Kim shook hands and clinked champagne glasses with Roh, who was visibly upbeat and planted a tree before he left Pyongyang.

International reaction was more lukewarm than for the first summit, with the United States saying that Korean peace hinged on the North's agreement to dismantle its nuclear weapons programme.

Source: AFP/de

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