South and North Korean Summit

After over a decade of rivalry, the leaders of North and South Korea finally sit down to discuss signing a peace treaty for a nuclear-free Korean peninsula.

Key Actors:

  • Kim Jong Un – Supreme Leader of North Korea
  • Moon Jae In – President of South Korea
  • Donald Trump – President of the United States of America

What’s Happening?

After being divided by the bloodstained border of the Korean Peninsula for 70 years, the leaders of North and South Korea sat down for a summit meeting on April 27th, 2018. Longstanding enemies across the divided peninsula, the meeting was a call for peace after a year of nuclear threats from North Korea. Meeting through a handshake across the world’s most heavily fortified border, the occasion made its mark in history as Kim Jong Un stepped into South Korea holding Moon Jae In’s hand and vice versa. Together, they issued a joint statement calling for a nuclear-free Korean peninsula and agreed to talk about formally signing a peace treaty.

The world watched with bated breath, tension paramount, as the leaders headed hand in hand,  to a meeting in the truce village at the center of the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). Being the result of months of diplomatic negotiation by Moon and nuclear threats from Kim, the stakes were extremely high and many observers remained skeptical of bridging the gap created by 60 years of tension, suspicion and antagonism. Cameras from around the world fixed on the moment the two leaders replanted a pine tree, first planted in the DMZ in 1953, the year the armistice was signed between the two countries. The planting – using dirt and water from the two Koreas, a mixture from both sides of the border – was extremely symbolic, marking “Peace and Prosperity” and the official end of the Korean War.

For Mr. Kim, this marked his debut in presenting himself to the global audience without the protection of his state-controlled media. The world perceived him as a much more mature, calmer leader with his confident voice – drawing comparisons to Kim Il Sung, the founder of North Korea. It also made him the first ever North Korean leader to set foot in the South. Furthermore, this meeting set the stage for the first meeting between the Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump, who are scheduled to meet later in May.


Engel, Benjamin A. “South Korea’s Strategy to Bring Peace to the Peninsula: Credit Trump.” The Diplomat, The Diplomat, 4 May 2018

Dejevsky, Mary. “At This Summit, North and South Korea Took a Real Step towards Peace | Mary Dejevsky.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 27 Apr. 2018

Goldman, Russell, and Choe Sang-hun. “North and South Korea Summit Is Short on Details, but Long on Theater.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 27 Apr. 2018

Westcott, Ben, and Joshua Berlinger. “From Brink of War to Hopes of Peace: Kim Heads South.” CNN, Cable News Network, 27 Apr. 2018

Reuters. “Donald Trump Says Date, Place Set For North Korea Summit.”, 5 May 2018

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