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Moon briefly goes off script to cross into North Korea at Kim's request

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South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un hold hands as they across the military demarcation line, Friday. / Korea Summit Press Pool
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un hold hands as they across the military demarcation line, Friday. / Korea Summit Press Pool

By Park Si-soo

In defiance of the script, South Korean President Moon Jae-in briefly crossed into North Korea before Friday's historic inter-Korean summit.

Moon walked across the military demarcation line (MDL) to the North at 9:31 a.m., at the request of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un who, as planned, had crossed into the South. The two leaders, holding hands, stepped over the 10-centimeter-high concrete threshold built on the parallel of the MDL.

It happened soon after their historic first handshake, with the MDL in between and then with Kim on South Korean soil.

Chief presidential press secretary Yoon Young-chan said that while Moon and Kim were shaking hands, Moon told Kim, "You came to the South. When would it be possible for me to cross into the North?"

Kim said, "How about now?" turning his head northward. Moon appeared a little embarrassed, but soon accepted Kim's offer and crossed the line to the North.

Another off-script event was a group photo of the two leaders and delegates taken on the way to Peace House, the summit venue.

The press secretary said Moon suggested the idea after Kim told Moon some of Kim's delegates were supposed to return to the North after the welcoming ceremony.

Video footage shows Moon and Kim asking their delegates to form for a group photo in the Peace House courtyard before the leaders inspected the South Korean honor guards.


Park Si-soo pss@koreatimes.co.kr


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