Moon, elated at the sight, turned and shook the hand of Kim's sister, who was seated right behind him in the VIP box on the first trip to the South ever by a member of the North's ruling family.
Kim had been seen as a ruthless and impulsive leader as he reportedly executed close aides and was engaged in a fiery verbal tit-for-tat with U.S. President Donald Trump past year over North Korea's development of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.
"The North Koreans have said the U.S. can maintain forces on the Peninsula, but once a peace settlement is signed, I'm expecting the North Koreans to insist that those forces be dramatically reduced in size and posture changed to a peacekeeping role". (Reuters TV) Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un pose for a photo with children at the truce village of Panmunjom.
But it did not mention denuclearisation, and as images of the leaders' handshake were beamed around the world, the North's state television showed only a test card.
Its actions sent tensions soaring as Kim and Trump traded personal insults and threats of war.
President Trump revealed Pompeo, when he was Central Intelligence Agency director, quietly traveled to North Korea in an effort to set up a meeting between the US president and communist dictator.
"We are hopeful that talks will achieve progress toward a future of peace and prosperity for the entire Korean Peninsula".
Trump has demanded the North give up its weapons, and Washington is pressing for it to do so in a complete, verifiable and irreversible way.
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"It's also important to test how serious Kim Jong-un may be about denuclearization".
Less than a month later, in early March, Kim held talks with Moon's special envoys in Pyongyang. Kim and Moon then saluted an honor guard and military band, and the two leaders introduced each other to the officials accompanying them.
South Korean culture minister Do Jong Whan, who visited Pyongyang earlier this month to head a musical troupe and met with Kim, says the leader has a "vibrant" character and a "humorous" side.
For the North to agree to such an outcome however it would most likely need to be accompanied by their demand for the peninsula to be to demilitarised, which would involve the withdrawal of all United States troops, as well as the standing down of the North and South Korean militaries.
The two are expected to talk denuclearisation and exchangesbetween the Koreas and also will plant a memorial tree at theborder truce village of Panmunjom.
The U.S., however, argues that further testing is needed to demonstrate operational ICBM capability.
Minutes before Kim entered Peace House, a North Korean security team conducted a sweep for explosives and listening devices, as well as sprayed apparent disinfectant in the air, on the chairs, and on a guest book Kim was to sign.
Pyongyang staged almost a dozen missile tests since Moon took office in May 2017, while also conducting its sixth and most powerful nuclear test in September. "Also, it is very moving that you, Mr President, have come to Panmunjom, the demarcation line, to greet me", the North Korean leader said.
The soil will come from Mount Paektu, on the North's border with China, and Mount Halla, on the South's southern island of Jeju.