Home / General / Commuters in Seoul brought to a stand still as the eyes of a nation fix on Trump-Kim handshake

Commuters in Seoul brought to a stand still as the eyes of a nation fix on Trump-Kim handshake

It’s no doubt an extraordinary summit but, for Koreans, today’s meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un is personal.

At Seoul train station, people gathered to watch old enemies meet for the first time.

Many are optimistic, clapping as the leaders emerge.

“It’s very emotional,” explains Chloe Ji Yoon, who joined the crowd on her way to work, “I have no relatives in North Korea but it feels like a family affair. My story, my family – that’s what it feels like.”

Travellers in a rush stand still; the eyes of a nation trained on a handshake.

“Kim Jong Un, you’re doing good,” 85-year-old Lee shouts at the station TV.

He fled from the North in the 1940s but his initial enthusiasm fades when I ask him about the chance of peace.

“It’s absolutely impossible,” he replied, “North Korea will not pursue peaceful reunification, it wants to unify our country by force. United States is being tricked.”

But the spontaneous outburst of commuters shows how important this meeting is for many South Koreans, as it offers a new hope for peace.

Away from the action, viewing from the sidelines in Seoul, President Moon Jae-In shares their hope.

“All the attention of our people is on Singapore,” he said. “I, too, could hardly sleep last night. I join all the people in ardently aspiring for the success of the summit to bring complete denuclearisation and peace to us and usher in a new era among the two Koreas and the United States.”

In reality, everyone here knows if Donald Trump’s apparently “excellent” new relationship with Kim Jong Un sours, it’s South Koreans who are in the firing line.

So now they wait to see if this is really the start of a new era or just another promise of peace to be broken.

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