Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un, the leaders of South and North Korea jointly planted a tree on Friday, an event that symbolizes their wish for peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula.
According to Yonhap News, the two leaders planted the pine tree together near the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) that separates the two Koreas. The tree-planting came after their historic summit talks held earlier in the day.
The two Koreas chose a tree that sprouted in 1953 to emphasize the year the armistice was signed to end the 1950-53 Korean War, according to a press release issued by the presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae.
The tree was planted on the southern side of the MDL near the road that late Hyundai Group founder Chung Ju-yung used in the late 1990s when he led truckloads of cows to the North as part of reconciliatory efforts.
Moon and Kim shovelled soil that had been collected from Mt. Halla in the South and Mt. Baekdu in the North over the tree’s roots. Kim poured water from the Han River of the South and Moon from the Daedong River of the North.
South Korea suggested the tree planting event and the North accepted the idea. Moon and Kim unveiled a stone in front of the tree inscribed with their respective names. It also bears the phrase, “Plant peace and prosperity.”
The two Koreas held a similar event in 2007 when then-South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and then-North Korean leader Kim Jong-il met in Pyongyang.
At the time, Roh and Kim Young-nam, the North’s nominal head of state, planted a pine tree in the North Korean capital at the end of the second inter-Korean summit.
Yonhap further reported that the Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un will jointly announce the outcome of their summit Friday when and if their working-level officials reach a final deal, an official from Moon’s presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said.
The leaders met at the Joint Security Area of Panmunjom early Friday. The talks lasted nearly 100 minutes after starting at 10:15 a.m.
“At the summit, the two leaders held serious and honest discussions on ways to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, establish permanent peace and develop South-North Korea relations,” Yoon Young-chan, Moon’s top press secretary, told a press briefing.
“They have agreed to continue working-level discussions to craft a joint declaration and once the declaration is made, the leaders will hold a signing ceremony and jointly announce it,” he added.
Moon earlier said what was agreed upon at his summit with Kim will be a great present to the entire world.
“I believe it will be a great present to the people of the South and the North, people of the entire world as we had lots of great discussions today,” he was quoted as saying as his closing remarks.
Kim too said their agreement may at least be a small gift to many.
“To those who expected much, it might only be the start, the tip of an iceberg, but once what we discussed today at the first meeting is announced, I hope it will offer at least some satisfaction to those who expected much,” the North Korean leader said, according to Cheong Wa Dae.
Kim returned to the North Korean side of Panmunjom after his first meeting with Moon ended.