While President Trump’s meeting with Kim Jong Un was a big deal for the U.S., it’s huge for South Korea, a country that longs to reunite the peninsula but lives with the knowledge that North Korean rockets are pointed at them.
During and after the historic summit in Singapore, South Koreans reacted to seeing an American president and North Korean leader meeting face-to-face for the first time in generations. Many were ecstatic, while others said it was hard to believe their eyes.
According to CNN, a sleepless South Korean president Moon Jae-in said, "Seventy years of division and hostility, however, have cast a dark shadow that makes it difficult to believe what is actually taking place before our very eyes. Leaving dark days of war and conflict behind, we will write a new chapter of peace and cooperation. We will be there together with North Korea along the way."
Moon’s office noted, as well, his role in helping bring the U.S. and North Korea to this point in the peacemaking process. Moon called it the “meeting of the century.”
South Koreans across the country watched Trump and Kim appear on camera and talk about the denuclearization of North Korea. The importance of the meeting was not lost on South Korea.
“It’s better to be face-to-face than either phones or paper or even war,” said one South Korean, according to Fox News.
Librarian Kim Hyun-A expressed his desire for peace and said, “I admit that I didn’t like President Trump in the first place, but I now support him in this historic deal. I think he is doing a great job,” the UK’s The Independent reported.
“I’m looking forward to further progress. I hope economic ties with North Korea will open up new opportunities for us,” said retired salesman Lee Sang-Yup.
“We have a low employment problem here, particularly among young people, and the economy, in general, is not so good these days. I really hope cooperation with North Korea will bring some good opportunities for both countries,” he added.
Shopkeeper Kwon Hye-Young said that when the North Korean dictator promised major change as he signed a joint statement with Trump, “I felt a lump in my throat and got emotional. I almost cried. I can’t believe it’s happening in my lifetime.”
Graduate student Lee Yoon-Jung was emotional, too, even before the meeting began but said afterwards, “afterwardng that historic meeting, I feel like crying again. I hope this meeting will lead to peace on the Korean peninsula.”