BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Asia-Pacific
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

The BBC's Matt Frei
"The cold war started here and still goes on"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 13 June, 2000, 09:42 GMT 10:42 UK
Korean leaders' historic handshake
The two Korean leaders shake hands at Pyongyang airport
The two Kims meet for the first time
The leaders of the two Koreas have begun their first ever summit in the North Korean capital Pyongyang, following more than 50 years of enmity between the two countries.

North Korea's reclusive Kim Jong-il surprised everyone by appearing at the airport to greet South Korea's President Kim Dae-jung personally in a lavish welcome ceremony.

We are one people - I love you all

President Kim Dae-jung

There were scenes of high emotion as a smiling Kim Jong-il walked over to Kim Dae-jung's jet and the two leaders shook hands on the tarmac.

Kim Dae-jung said he was fulfilling a lifelong dream to become the first South Korean leader to set foot in the communist North since the peninsular divided more than 50 years ago.

Presidents Kim Jong-il and Kim Dae-jung at the airport
The two leaders walk together along a red carpet
He said he hoped the summit would be a turning point in efforts to terminate the Cold War on the Korean peninsular.

The red carpet welcome at Pyongyang airport included a military brass band, goose-stepping soldiers with fixed bayonets and women dressed in traditional Korean gowns.

Crowds of people at the airport chanted "Kim Jong-il!". Many appeared overwhelmed, jumping up and down, raising their hands and waving paper flowers.

'I love you'

A black limousine took the two leaders into Pyongyang where the streets were lined with hundreds of thousands of people, cheering and waving bouquets of pink flowers.

I hope that it will be a turning point

President Kim Dae-jung
South Korea's presidential spokesman said the two leaders had sometimes held hands during the 40-minute drive.

They also promised to do their utmost to make the summit a success.

Boy with flags
President Kim was given a huge send-off from Seoul
After arriving at a guest house, Kim Dae-jung reportedly told Kim Jong-il he hoped the two Koreas would "end hostility and open a new era of reconciliation and co-operation".

The South Korean president had planned to appeal for solidarity from North Koreans in a prepared speech at the airport.

But surprised to be greeted personally by Kim Jong-il, he released it through the media instead.

"Compatriots in the North, we are one people. We share the same fate. Let us hold hands firmly. I love you all," an excerpt read.


After posing for photographs, the two Kims held their first official talks, but no details were released.

I'm speechless, overwhelmed by joy and happiness

Kim Dae-jung to Kim Jong-il

The meeting only lasted 27 minutes, but, as President Kim Dae-jung said before leaving Seoul, the significance of the summit was that it was taking place at all.

The two sides have been technically at war since their three year conflict ended in 1953 in an armed truce and not a peace treaty.

Missiles on parade
North Korea's military developments may come up in talks
The talks are expected to cover issues including national reconciliation, financial aid to the impoverished North and the reunification of families separated since the peninsula was divided 55 years ago.

The two leaders may also raise more controversial topics such as North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes, and the presence of American troops in the South.

Following their first meeting, President Kim Dae-jung watched an arts performance and was scheduled to attend a state dinner. The talks will continue on Wednesday.

Turning point

The summit had been scheduled to start on Monday, but was postponed at the last minute by Pyongyang for "technical reasons".

As President Kim Dae-jung's plane left Seoul, a children's choir sang a ballad popular in both Koreas: "Our wish is unification".

The president is accompanied by a delegation of 130 officials and 50 South Korean journalists. Pyongyang has barred all non Korean media from attending the event.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
See also:

13 Jun 00 | Asia-Pacific
Pyongyang, I love you
13 Jun 00 | Asia-Pacific
Pyongyang reaches out
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Asia-Pacific stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Asia-Pacific stories