S. Korean president arrives in Pyongyang for inter-Korean summit

PYONGYANG/SEOUL, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in arrived in Pyongyang on Tuesday for a much-anticipated meeting with Kim Jong Un, top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the third inter-Korean summit this year.

Moon and South Korean first lady Kim Jung-sook landed in Pyongyang at around 10 a.m. local time (0100 GMT). They were received by Kim and his wife Ri Sol Ju at the Pyongyang International Airport, with a crowd in suits and traditional costumes waving flowers, national flags and the unified flag for the Korean Peninsula which features a map of the peninsula.

"Warmly welcome President Moon Jae-in for a visit to Pyongyang," a banner in the background reads.

The two leaders greeted each other with a hug and inspected the guards of honor before leaving together for the Baekhwawon State Guest House in a black sedan.

They were seen later to step out of the same vehicle outside the state guest house.

Moon's visit was closely followed in South Korea and was broadcast live at the Seoul press center.

Kim and Moon met in the truce village of Panmunjom on the border on April 27 and May 26, respectively. Their meetings were seen as major milestones in the relations between the DPRK and South Korea.

Moon is expected to stay in Pyongyang for three days through Thursday. The two leaders will meet for 1.5 hours on Tuesday from 3:30 p.m. local time (0630 GMT), Yoon Young-chan, Moon's senior press secretary, told a press briefing at the Seoul press center.

Moon's entourage is composed of ministers, officials, lawmakers, business people as well as entertainers.

The official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said that the Pyongyang summit aims to implement the Panmunjom Declaration issued after the first inter-Korean summit in April.

The Pyongyang summit "will offer an important opportunity in further accelerating the development of inter-Korea relations that is making a new history," the KCNA said.

Before leaving for Pyongyang, Moon said he planned to have a lot of frank talks with Kim during his visit to the DPRK in order to bring "irreversible, permanent peace to the Korean Peninsula" and help restart the DPRK-U.S. dialogue on the denuclearization of the peninsula.

Progress has been remarkable in the dialogues on the Korean Peninsula since the beginning of the year but there are still challenges as the United States and the DPRK find it not easy to get closer to each other in negotiations over the denuclearization of the peninsula.

Moon is the first head of state from South Korea to visit Pyongyang in 11 years. South Korea's late presidents Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun visited Pyongyang for meetings with then DPRK leader Kim Jong Il, father of the current leader, in 2000 and 2007, respectively.

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