2000 inter-Korean summit

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Kim Dae-jung
Kim Jong-il
The first inter-Korean summit between South Korean president Kim Dae-jung (left) and North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong Il (right).

2000 inter-Korean summit was a meeting between South Korean president Kim Dae-jung and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's supreme leader Kim Jong-il, which took place in Pyongyang from June 13 to June 15, 2000. It was the first inter-Korean summit since the Korean War 1950-1953.[1]

Kim Dae-jung described the meeting as "the biggest event in our history".[2] As a result of his efforts to facilitate the first inter-Korean summit, Kim Dae-Jung was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize the same year.[3][4]


An inter-Korean summit had previously been planned for July 1994, but was cancelled due to the death of North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung just 17 days before the meeting was due to take place.[5][6]

Prior to the meeting, Japanese officials warned South Korean President Kim Dae-jung against touching on sensitive topics, such as ballistic missiles, since it may aggravate relations with the North and hinder opportunities for future meetings.[7]

The Summit 13-15 June 2000[edit]

On the morning of Tuesday 13 June 2000, the South Korean President flew to Sunan Airport, Pyongyang. The distance was only 100 miles but the journey took over an hour as the plane had to divert its route to avoid the heavily militarized border.[6] However, as Kim Dae-jung flew to the North, it was still uncertain whether the meeting would go ahead. The editor of the Korea Herald reflected on the day, stating: "whether (North Korean leader) Kim Jong-il would show up or not at the airport was the talk of the town".[8]

Thankfully, Kim Jong-il was waiting at the foot of the South Korean leader's plane, where he was greeted with an elaborate welcome featuring a military band and women in traditional Korean dresses.[9] Kim Dae-jung walked down the steps of the aircraft and towards the North Korean leader, and the two shook hands, each using both hands, while smiling.[10] Both leaders took the same limousine into the North Korean capital, where approximately 600,000 North Koreans had lined the streets to greet the convoy, shaking bouquets of pink paper.[9]

50 South Korean journalists accompanied Kim Dae-jung to the summit, while non-Korean journalists were prohibited from joining the South Korean President's delegation.[11] A Chinese and a Russian news agency were the only non-Korean media in attendence. CNN, an American news network known for its favorable relationship with North Korea, was refused entry.[12] Some of the South Korean journalists tried to leave the Koryo Hotel for an early morning stroll, but were informed that engaging in "personal contacts with Pyongyang citizens would depart from the spirit of the summit agreement".[12]

Kim Dae-jung and his wife Lee Hee-ho visited the Mangyongdae Students' and Childrens' Palace where children played non-political yet patriotic tunes on the gayageum (a traditional Korean harp) for their South Korean guests.[12]


It was the first Inter-Korean summit meeting after Korean war, and as a result of the talks, the June 15 joint declaration was announced on the last day. On December 25, 2000, the Associated Press of the United States Associated Press published the "Top 10 News in 2000", which ranked 5th was the South–North Korea summit. The inter-Korean talks continued, and North Korea negotiated with normalization of relations with Japan and the United States while maintaining a reconciliation atmosphere. Kim Jong Il's early visit to Seoul was foreseen, but it was not realized due to the sudden change of international situation. In accordance with the North–South Joint Declaration arising from the first Inter-Korean summit, the North-South ministerial and military working-level talks were held four times in Pyongyang, Seoul and Jeju Island from July to December 2000. These also involved North–South Red Cross talks (three times) and several working-level contacts for North and South economic cooperation, continuing until March 2007. Kim Dae Jung, the South Korean president at the time, received the Nobel Peace Prize for successfully arranging the summit.

However, the South Korean Government paid North Korea approximately US$500 million to attend the Summit.[13] This payment was kept secret at the time and only emerged three years later, causing a major political scandal called the Cash-for-summit scandal. It was later discovered that South Korea had secretly paid the North Korean Government $200 million to attend, and because of this issue 6 South Korean businessmen and officials were convicted.[13] In August 2000, after over 50 years of separation, some members of separated families and relatives in the North and South had a reunification meeting with each other in Pyongyang and Seoul. Subsequent Inter-Korean summit talks were held and the June 15 North–South Joint Declaration was adopted.

Peace declaration (eight-point agreement)[edit]

  1. South and North Korea are to implement the June 15 Joint Declaration
  2. South and North Korea are to work for mutual respect and trust in order to overcome differences in ideology, system.
  3. South and North Korea are to ease military tensions, hold defense ministerial talks in November in Pyongyang to discuss ways of supporting inter-Korean economic cooperation and easing tension.
  4. The two sides agree on the need to end the current armistice and establish permanent peace.
  5. The two sides are to create a special peace zone around Haeju in North Korea and nearby areas.[1]
  6. South and North Korea are to develop cooperation in the history, language, education, technology, culture, sports, and social sectors.
  7. South and North Korea are to actively push for humanitarian cooperation and expansion of the reunions of separated families.
  8. South and North Korea are to strengthen cooperation for national interest in the international stage and the benefits of Korean residents abroad.

See also[edit]

Press releases[edit]


  1. ^ a b Jon Van Dyke (July 29, 2010). "The Maritime boundary between North & South Korea in the Yellow (West) Sea". 38 North. U.S.-Korea Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. Retrieved 28 November 2010.
  2. ^ "BBC News | ASIA-PACIFIC | N Korea 'agrees to papal visit'". news.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  3. ^ "The Nobel Peace Prize 2000". The Nobel Peace Prize. July 29, 2000. Retrieved 11 August 2018.
  4. ^ "Kim Dae-jung: South Korean president awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his 'Sunshine Policy' towards the North". independent.co.uk. July 29, 2000. Archived from the original on 2022-05-01. Retrieved 12 August 2018.
  5. ^ "Unfulfilled Inter-Korean Summit in 1994". world.kbs.co.kr. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  6. ^ a b Ramzy, Austin (26 April 2018). "When North Met South: A Short History of Inter-Korean Summits". New York Times. Retrieved 11 March 2024.
  7. ^ "Despite the past, four Pacific powers favor inter-Korean summit". Deseret News. 2024-01-18. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  8. ^ So-hyun, Kim (2023-09-26). "[Korean History] Divided Koreas hold first-ever summit talks in 2000". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  9. ^ a b Press, From the Associated (2000-06-13). "North and South Korean leaders meet". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  10. ^ North Korean TV Inter Korean summit 2000 | June 13th, 2000 (KCTV), retrieved 2024-03-11
  11. ^ Press, From the Associated (2000-06-13). "North and South Korean leaders meet". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  12. ^ a b c Gittings, John (2000-06-15). "Quiet reclaims the streets of Pyongyang". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2024-03-11.
  13. ^ a b "South Korea convicts six over summit". BBC. 2003-09-26. Retrieved 2013-04-12.


External links[edit]