Look at past inter-Korean summits during era of detente
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The leaders of the two Koreas have met only twice for summit talks during their 70 years of division along the world’s most heavily fortified border.
Both of the summits, one in 2000 and the other in 2007, took place when South Korea was under liberal presidents who sought rapprochement with North Korea despite conservative criticism that they provided the North with little-strings-attached aid shipments.
Talks of a third summit flared again Wednesday, when South Korea’s current liberal President Moon Jae-in said he’s willing to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un if the success of the meeting is guaranteed. It was largely a repeat of his stance on a summit, but the latest statement came a day after North Korea agreed to send a delegation to the Winter Olympics in South Korea next month in a small breakthrough in long-strained ties between the rivals.
A look at the past inter-Korean summits, both held in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital.
This summit happened between Kim’s late dictator-father Kim Jong Il and South Korean President Kim Dae-jung.
Kim Jong Il greeted Kim Dae-jung with big smiles and clasped both his hands tightly in an emotional moment that softened the North Korean strongman’s image to South Koreans and the world. In the first summit, the two Kims also rode together in a limousine to central Pyongyang and held about a half-hour of talks on the first day.
The meeting led the leaders to embark on now-stalled economic cooperation projects and reunions of families separated since the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.
Later in 2000, Kim Dae-jung won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to promote reconciliation with North Korea through his famous “Sunshine Policy.”
Kim Dae-jung died at age 85 in 2009.
The second summit happened between Kim Jong Il and Roh Moo-hyun, Kim Dae-jung’s liberal successor.
Roh went to Pyongyang after crossing the Demilitarized Zone in a highly symbolic moment that grabbed international headlines. Kim Dae-jung travelled by air.
Roh drew a less enthusiastic reception from Kim Jong Il, who particularly seldom smiled during a welcoming ceremony. They agreed to pursue a peace treaty to formally end the Korean War and reached a set of cooperation projects. But most of the accords were shelved after Roh’s single five-year term ended months later and was replaced by a conservative who took a harder line over the North’s nuclear ambitions.
Roh leapt to his death in 2009 amid a high-profile corruption scandal involving his family. He was 62. Moon served as his presidential chief of staff.
Kim Jong Il died at age 69 in late 2011, handing over power to his son Kim Jong Un.