Hopes increase among North Koreans for Kim Jong Un visit to Seoul

South Korean President Moon Jae In and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pose with the signed joint agreement in Pyongyang on Sept. 19, 2018. (Joint Press Corps-Yonhap)

North Korean residents have responded favorably to President Moon Jae-in’s speech in Pyongyang, and there are rising expectations that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will visit Seoul, sources in North Korea have reported.

North Korea published the entirety of the agreement made between the two Koreas at the third inter-Korean summit in the September 20th edition of the Rodong Sinmun and noted that “a new era of unification is occurring.” The newspaper also reported on Kim Jong Un’s statements about denuclearization.

“Most North Koreans were deeply impressed and believe that the summit was a success,” said a Ryanggang Province-based source. “People especially consider President Moon’s invitation for Chairman Kim Jong Un to visit South Korea a very special and unique event in the history of the Korean people.”

North Koreans are calling the invitation extended to Kim a “promise with President Moon for the Chairman’s visit to Seoul.”

“Following the visit of South Korea’s president to our country, North Koreans are wondering if unification is right on the horizon after the Chairman visits Seoul,” said a source in North Hamgyong Province.

This popular sentiment comes with hopes among North Koreans that Kim’s visit to Seoul would allow him to bring back a “support package” from South Korea.

According to a separate source in Ryanggang Province , North Koreans who were mobilized to clean the streets of the Samjiyon area to prepare for President Moon’s visit to Mt. Paektu are saying that all the work was worthwhile in the end.

Many reportedly felt a sense of satisfaction upon seeing the photo of Moon, Kim and their wives holding up their hands on top of Mt. Paektu on the front page of the Rodong Sinmun.

That being said, questions remain as to whether Kim will actually visit Seoul. Both Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il received invitations to visit Seoul, but ultimately did not make the trip.

Seo Jae Pyong, Secretary-General of the Association of North Korean Defectors, told Daily NK that North Koreans feel “sad that Kim Il Sung died before his scheduled trip to South Korea in 1994.”

“The situation at the time was moving in a positive direction toward unification, but [this situation] suddenly stopped and there were a lot of people who said that ‘North Koreans are unlucky.’ People have high hopes about Kim Jong Un heading to Seoul because they are still very hopeful that unification will take place,” he said.