Once on the South side of the Demilitarized Zone, the stretch of land that makes up the border and in which the summit meeting took place, Mr. Kim inspected a military honor guard. Though the DMZ is heavily fortified and security was tightened for the visit, the honor guard’s soldiers carried spears and swords, instead of rifles. They were dressed in 19th-century costumes, worn at a time when Korea was a unified empire.
Even the décor inside Peace House, the building in which the meeting took place, was chosen for its political optics. In the run-up to the talks, workers hung paintings of Mount Kumgang, which straddles the border and is an important symbol to Koreans in both countries.
The table and chairs inside the meeting room were also carefully designed with a pattern evoking two bridges coming together.
At the table was Mr. Kim’s sister, Kim Yo-jong, the only woman in the delegation. Ms. Kim’s stature has risen since she represented the North’s government at this year’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. That visit was widely seen as an opening gambit toward a détente, and Ms. Kim was widely credited with softening her country’s image.
At Peace House, Mr. Kim signed a guest book, leaving a message guaranteed to be photographed, tweeted and deconstructed by political analysts.
“A new history starts now,” he wrote. “An age of peace, from the starting point of history.”