North and South Korean leaders hold historic summit: Highlights

By Joshua Berlinger, Nick Thompson and Euan McKirdy, CNN

Updated 4:23 PM ET, Tue June 5, 2018
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4:16 a.m. ET, April 27, 2018

Kim and Moon hold ceremonial tree-planting

Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae-in kicked off the afternoon portion of the summit with a ceremonial tree-planting ceremony in the demilitarized zone.

Kim arrived in the DMZ in his limousine, again with his bodyguards running alongside the vehicle.

After Kim shook hands with Moon, the two shoveled some soil onto a pine tree that was already in the ground before the leaders arrived.

The tree is from 1953, the year the Korean War armistice was signed. Kim used soil from a mountain on the southern island of Jeju while Moon used earth from Mount Paektu in the north.

Each leader watered the tree with water from the other's territory.

After the tree planting, they each revealed a stone that commemorated the occasion, with the phrase "peace and prosperity planted" on it. The leaders' names and the date was also printed on the stone.

3:11 a.m. ET, April 27, 2018

More details about the inter-Korean banquet revealed

We're learning more about the banquet dinner that will take place tonight following the summit meetings, including the fact that Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae-in will crack dome-shaped chocolates with mallets.

Eleven North Korean singers, actors and other artists will attend the banquet.

Twenty-sixth North Koreans and 34 South Koreans will attend the dinner.

Earlier this week, the South Korean presidential office released details on 10 dishes that will be served at the banquet on Friday night, and each dish is stuffed with symbolism.

The food is sourced from across from the Korean Peninsula. A highlight is Pyongyang Naengmyun, a dish of cold noodles beloved by many Koreans but perfected by the North Koreans.

The dish is so good that the North is dispatching its top chef to the border, along with a noodle-making machine, to serve it up tonight.

Ellana Lee/CNN
Ellana Lee/CNN

2:49 a.m. ET, April 27, 2018

What's happened at the inter-Korean summit so far

For parts of the world that are just waking up, here's what you need to know.

It's been a busy morning on the Korean Peninsula.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un appeared at about 9:30 South Korean time for his historic summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

He walked up to the demarcation line that divides the two countries and shook hands with Moon.

The pair shared pleasantries and, in an impromptu moment, briefly crossed to the north side of the demarcation line for a photo op before walking back into the southern side.

Here's video of the moment:

After a welcoming ceremony filled with pomp and circumstance, the leaders then retreated to the Peace House, where Kim Jong Un signed the guestbook.

Photo by Korea Summit Press Pool/Getty Images
Photo by Korea Summit Press Pool/Getty Images

They then entered the recently redesigned meeting room and gave statements on camera before the media was kicked out for the closed-door talks, which lasted for two hours.

Kim then traveled back to the northern side of the DMZ in a limousine surrounded by body guards as both delegations retired for lunch.

That happened about two hours ago, and now we're waiting for the North Korean leader to cross south again for the afternoon portion of the summit.

Read our full report here

2:12 a.m. ET, April 27, 2018

Kim and Moon talked denuclearization this morning, South Korea says

From CNN's Ben Westcott and Joshua Berlinger

The two Korean leaders spoke for 100 minutes during their morning meeting, South Korean presidential spokesman Yoon Young-chan said.

During their conversation, Yoon said Kim and Moon addressed the three top agenda items for the summit: denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, improving relations, and seeking a formal peace settlement.

Yoon also said the two sides are in the process of drafting a joint declaration.

While there is no expectation that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will immediately dismantle his nuclear arsenal follow talks with South Korea's President Moon Jae-in, analysts say South Korea is likely pushing for some agreement or wording that will give the world a better idea of how serious he is about disarming.

In recent months, the North Korean leader has spoken publicly about “denuclearization,” but experts told CNN it isn’t clear Kim is talking the same language as the US and South Korea.

Many observers are skeptical that Kim would ever relinquish the nuclear weapons his regime has spent so much time and money on.

Read more about what denuclearization means to each side here

1:54 a.m. ET, April 27, 2018

Wives of Kim and Moon will attend banquet, South Korea says

From CNN's James Griffiths in Ilsan

The spouses of Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong Un -- Kim Jung-sook and Ri Sol Ju, respectively -- will attend the banquet tonight after the summit meetings conclude, a South Korean presidential spokesman said at an afternoon briefing.

Ri is expected to arrive at Panmunjom this evening.

Read more about Ri here

1:33 a.m. ET, April 27, 2018

What the US, North Korea and South Korea want

Here's what the United States, South Korea and North Korea want from today's meeting and the planned summit between President Trump and Kim:

  • The Trump administration wants the complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization of North Korea.

  • South Korea is also pushing for North Korea to dismantle its nuclear program, and it's one of the top issues on the agenda for today's summit, along with establishing a permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula (the Korean War ended in stalemate in 1953 with a truce) and advancing inter-Korean relations.

  • North Korea's goals are is less clear. Kim Jong Un says he is committed to the path of denuclearization, a North Korean source told CNN, but some observers doubt he will ultimately give up his nuclear weapons. In the past, North Korea has sought security guarantees and demanded the US drop what the North describes as its "hostile policy." The country has long wanted the US to remove its military presence from South Korea, where more than 20,000 troops are stationed, though Moon has said that Kim agreed to drop that demand as a condition for denuclearization.

Then there's the bigger issue of whether North and South would ever reunify as one country.

Since 1972, both North and South Korea have been committed to reunifying the peninsula through peaceful, non-military means "without depending on foreign powers and without foreign interference."

What reunification looks like, however is unclear. Since their division after World War II, the two countries have become markedly different places, with different cultures and even colloquial language.

1:16 a.m. ET, April 27, 2018

Kim Jong Un says he's willing to go to Seoul


Kim has told Moon that he would be willing to visit the Presidential Blue House (South Korea's equivalent of the White House) in Seoul.

Here's how it happened, according to South Korean presidential spokesman Yoon Young-chan:

Moon told Kim that if he were to travel to Seoul, the military honor guard that would greet him would be much bigger than the one today.“If you invite me to the Blue House, I am willing to go to the Blue House anytime,” Kim responded.
1:15 a.m. ET, April 27, 2018

Kim Jong Un: "My heart won't stop fluttering"

After Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae-in met for the first time, the North Korean leader was very open about how excited he was during the encounter.

Here's how it went down, per the journalists who were there:


Kim: “Nice to meet you”.

Moon: “Was it not hard to come here?”

Kim: “No.”

Moon: “Nice to meet you.”

Kim: “My heart won't stop fluttering, to meet at such a historic location. Also, I’m very moved that you have come all the way to [military demarcation line] to greet.”

Moon: “It was a very courageous decision for you to come all the way here.”

KJU: “No, no.”

Moon: “We have made a historic moment.”

1:05 a.m. ET, April 27, 2018

Kim Jong Un's sister returns to South Korea

From CNN's Angela Dewan


Kim Jong Un’s younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, was among the six delegates with a seat at the table as talks began. She was sole woman among them, and she diligently took notes as her brother beside her spoke. 

It is the second time in three months that Kim Yo Jong, 30, has been in the South: She became the face of the North Korean delegation at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang in February.

She appears to have become a central figure in the historic talks and is a close aide of her brother's. She manages his public events, itineraries and logistical needs, according to North Korea Leadership Watch.

Read more here