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S.Korean President arrives in Pyongyang for summit with Kim


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Pyongyang, Sep 18 (IANS) South Korean President Moon Jae-in arrived in Pyongyang on Tuesday, where he was welcomed North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in an elaborate ceremony, featuring a cheek-to-cheek hug.

The meeting between Moon and Kim came about four months after the two last met on May 26 inside the Demilitarized Zone that divides the two Koreas, reports Yonhap News Agency.

After Moon’s presidential jet touched down at Pyongyang’s Sunan International Airport, the North’s leader and his wife, Ri Sol-ju, emerged from the airport terminal to the wild cheers of hundreds of people waving flowers, the North’s national flag and the "Korean Peninsula flag", a neutral flag bearing the image of the peninsula that is often used at inter-Korean events.

The North’s leader, clad in a dark suit, and his wife walked side by side on the red-carpeted tarmac to Moon’s plane.

With broad smiles on their faces, Moon and Kim embraced with a cheek-to-cheek hug and shook both hands.

The two leaders reviewed members of the honour guard holding bayonet-tipped rifles goose-stepping past the stand in neat columns.

The leaders of two Koreas were expected to hold their first official meeting after lunch.

Moon’s trip comes amid a deadlock in denuclearization talks between the US and North Korea.

The South Korean leader said he will seek to mediate a breakthrough in the denuclearization talks during his three-day trip to the North.

"(My) North Korea trip would have a great meaning if it could lead to the resumption of North Korea-US dialogue," Moon said before his departure on Tuesday.

The South Korean President will have at least two encounters with Kim.

The Moon-Kim summit will mark the third of its kind since he took office in May 2017. The two leaders earlier met on April 27 and May 26 in the border village of Panmunjom that sits directly on the inter-Korean border.

Their meeting will also mark the fifth inter-Korean summit ever held.

The first two rounds were held in 2000 and 2007, both in Pyongyang, involving then-South Korean presidents Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun, in that order, and North Korea’s late former leader Kim Jong-il.

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