With a single step over a weathered, cracked slab of concrete, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made history Friday by crossing over the world's most heavily armed border to greet his rival, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, for talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons. Kim then invited Moon to cross briefly north with him before they returned to the southern side. Moon grasped Kim's hand and led him along a blindingly red carpet into South Korean territory, where school children placed flowers around their necks and an honor guard stood at attention for inspection, per the AP. Beyond the surface, however, it's still not clear whether the leaders can make any progress in closed-door talks on the nuclear issue, which has bedeviled US and South Korean officials for decades.
Kim's news agency said that the leader would "open-heartedly" discuss with Moon "all the issues arising in improving inter-Korean relations and achieving peace, prosperity, and reunification of the Korean peninsula" in a "historic" summit. It's the first time one of the ruling Kim leaders has crossed over to the southern side of the Demilitarized Zone since the Korean War ended (though not officially) in 1953. Nuclear weapons will top the agenda, and Friday's summit will be the clearest sign yet of whether it's possible to peacefully negotiate those weapons away from a country that has spent decades doggedly building its bombs despite crippling sanctions and near-constant international opprobrium.