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평양을 방문중인 문재인 대통령 내외가 20일 오전 김정은 국무위원장과 백두산에 올라 천지를 바라보며 이야기를 나눈뒤 손을 들고 있다. 2018.09.20 평양사진공동취재단

Visit to Mt.Baekdusan offers a new ray of hope for peace on the Korean Peninsula

 

The Pyeongyang Summit has given President Moon Jae-in the opportunity to fulfill his long time wish of visiting the Baekdusan Mountain.  At the Panmujeom Summit in April, Moon expresses his desire to visit Baekdusan Mountain, going through North Korea and not through China. As soon as he arrived North Korea for the 3rd Inter Korean Summit, he expresses his desire that visit the Mountain.

Baekdusan is the highest mountain on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast China. It’s on the border of North Korea’s Hamgyong-do Province and China’s Jilin Province. It’s had several different names since ancient times.

The modern Korean name, Baekdusan, means white-head mountain. It was first recorded over 13-hundred years ago. Around that time, it was also called Taebaeksan, meaning great-white mountain. The crater lake at the top of the mountain, known as Heaven Lake, or Cheonji in Korean, is one of the highest crater lakes in the world.

A lot of international visitors, including many South Koreans, go up the mountain from the Chinese side. It is also a very popular tourist destination for visitors to North Korea.

In the inter-Korean summit agreement in 2007, the South and North agreed to run tours to Baekdusan, and even establish a direct air route to the mountain from Seoul, but the plan was never carried out. With the success of the summit, Baekdusan Mountain we be more functional as the route will be open through North Korea.

The “sacred” Baekdusan mountain on the northernmost point of the Peninsula, has once again been highlighted as the symbol of Korean identity, after President Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un’s visit following their summit talks this week.
Meaning, “white-head” mountain in Korean, Baekdusan is the highest mountain on the Peninsula and in Northeast China, with a height of two,seven-hundred-forty-four meters.

The story, and various other Baekdusan fables, have inspired a sense of national identity and the noble spirit of the Korean people, depicting the mountain’s tall, mystical peaks, and its Cheonji crater lake.

President Moon Jae-in, First Lady Kim Jung-sook, Chairman Kim Jong Un and his wife Ri Sol Ju arrived by car at the Janggun Peak of Baekdusan Mountain accompanying officials in the car. According to report made available at the Press Center,  on the way to the peak they briefly dropped by Hyangdo Station, at which a train to the Mountain stops.  The two leaders and their wives took a cable car at 10:10 am and arrived at Cheonji Crater Lake at around 10:20 am. President Moon, Chairman Kim and their wives started strolling, around and were seeing visible happy and chatting.

 

A press statement made available to reporters says a new era is about to begin. President Moon will leave for New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly upon his return from North Korea. As he said when he was leaving for Pyeongyang, the trip to New York would be to mediate and promote dialogue between North Korea and the United States.

After hiking on Baekdusan Mountain, President Moon and his delegation departed for Seoul Air Base directly from Samjiyon Airport.

In a closing remark of Yoon Young-chan, Senior Secretary to the President for Public Communication,

he said “We have been able to deliver good news opening a new future of the Korean Peninsula and will continue to do our best.” Futhermore he said” this may be the last official briefing scheduled. I thank all local and foreign journalists for what you have done over the past three days.”

Young-chan said “We have all observed history in the making from here at the Seoul Press Center. I will cherish this memory deep in my heart. Even a year ago, it was practically impossible to imagine the sight of the leaders of North and South Korea and their wives standing together with Cheonji Lake on Bakedusan Mountain in the background.”

According to Young-chan, “Of course we still have a long way to go and there may be bumps along the way. But I am certain that the energy imparted to the two leaders by Baekdusan Mountain confirms the oneness of the Korean people and offers a new ray of hope for peace on the Korean Peninsula.”

China, Japan responded positively on third inter-Korean summit Wednesday expressing hope. South and North Korea’s neighboring countries of China and Japan gave their responses to the third inter-Korean summit of 2018.
The Chinese government responded say the inter-Korean joint declaration was announced the following day that it welcomes the dialogue. According to Beijing “”As a close neighbor, China always supports improvements in inter-Korean relations through dialogue. China hopes the two Koreas can actively implement the consensus made in their joint declaration and make continuous efforts to play a positive role toward achieving long-standing peace in the region.”

Meanwhile, Japan says it hopes improved inter-Korean relations could lead to the resumption of denuclearization dialogue between North Korea and the U.S.
It also called for specific actions from the North for the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

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