DPRK leader's historic crossing to RoK captures public's attention

Friday, 2018-04-27 14:33:54
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Citizens watch the live televised coverage of the first inter-Korean summit between RoK President Moon Jae-in and DPRK leader Kim Jong-un on a large LED screen installed at Seoul Square on April 27, 2018. (Photo:Yonhap).
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Seoul citizens shared a moment of collective awe and jubilation as they watched the two leaders of the divided Koreas shake hands in a historic summit at the countries' heavily fortified border Friday (April 27).

What brought these people to one spot on a morning in the bustling capital city was the 5.5-meter-wide and 2.5-meter-high LED signage display installed by the Seoul Metropolitan Government on the east side of Seoul Square.

Office workers and passers-by had their eyes glued to the screen, who soon formed a large crowd, creating a moment reminiscent of the mass public gathering in the same place during the 2002 World Cup, in which the Republic of Korea (RoK) advanced to the final four.

"I feel like my heart's going to stop. Words cannot describe how excited I am," said a 73-year-old surnamed Kim, who came from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)’s part of Gangwon Province and hasn't been home since the Korean War ended in a truce in 1953. "I believe we can be freed from nuclear war threats ... why shouldn't we imagine the day we take a train to our hometown?"

When DPRK’s leader Kim was shown on camera descending a set of stairs on his way to the Military Demarcation Line to meet President Moon Jae-in, the audience raised their eyes and stared at the 34-year-old leader as he came out of seclusion.

Seoul Square filled with wows, cheers and a ripple of applause after the two smiling leaders shook hands in a symbolic gesture of reconciliation that came after more than a decade of tension from the DPRK's nuclear and missile provocations.

Dozens of citizens, young and old, stood fixated on a large TV monitor in the Seoul Station in Yongsan. An elderly man shed tears, while a few 20-somethings talked about Kim's appearance.

"It's so unreal; is he seriously on our land now?" one of them said.

The People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, a key liberal civic group, voiced optimism for "the historic day that the two leaders held hands together," calling for a resumption of economic exchanges and permanent peace.

Citizens raised hopes that the two Koreas can start a new chapter in history to bring peace to both countries.

"The demarcation line can be another name that represents a starting line for a new history," a Seoul city government official said. "Looking at Kim and Moon's faces, I believe we can hope for the spring of peace to come at an earlier date. I feel touched and moved seeing them shake hands."

Yonhap
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