Korean Leaders Pose on Peak of Sacred Volcano

Moon flies home after 3-day summit
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 20, 2018 12:33 AM CDT
Kim, Moon Join Hands on Sacred Volcano
South Korean President Moon Jae-in, second from left, and his wife Kim Jung-sook, second from right, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and his wife Ri Sol Ju, right, visit Mount Paektu in North Korea, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018.   (Pyongyang Press Corps Pool via AP)

The leaders of the rival Koreas took to the road for the final day of their summit Thursday, standing on the peak of a beautiful volcano considered sacred in the North and a centerpiece of propaganda used to legitimize the Kim family's rule, their hands clasped and raised in a pose of triumph. Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in flew separately to an airport near Mount Paektu on Thursday morning where they then met up and drove to the mountain.Their trip to the mountain on the North Korean-Chinese border, and the striking photo-op that will resonate in both Koreas, followed a day of wide-ranging agreements they trumpeted as a major step toward peace, the AP reports.

Moon departed for South Korea later Thursday, as the leaders bask in the glow of the joint statement they settled Wednesday. Kim promised to accept international inspectors to monitor the closing of a key missile test site and launch pad and to visit Seoul soon, and both leaders vowed to work together to try to host the Summer Olympics in 2032. But their joint statement appeared to fall short of the major steps many in Washington have been looking for—such as a commitment by Kim to provide a list of North Korea's nuclear facilities, a solid step-by-step timeline for closing them down, or an agreement to allow international inspectors to assess progress or discover violations.

(More North Korea stories.)

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