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Kim Jong-un
Reuters/Damir Sugolj
Kim Jong-un is on a tight schedule.
THE FINER POINTS

The Korea Summit is planned down to the minute

Gwynn Guilford
By Gwynn Guilford

Reporter

Synchronize your watches, everybody—the Koreans are meeting.

Tomorrow (April 27), North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and South Korea president Moon Jae-in will meet to talk peace and a nuclear-free future. The summit will mark the first meeting between leaders of the two Koreas since 2007; the initial summit was held in 2000.

For those keeping score at home, the schedule for the 2018 Inter-Korean Summit has been announced—featuring plenty of bridezilla-grade detail. Here’s the Kim-Moon agenda, in all its precisely timed and choreographed glory:

9:30am

  • Moon greets Kim at the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) between the two countries, a special zone around the border between the two countries where no arms are allowed.
  • Kim crosses the line
  • A South Korean traditional honor guard escorts Kim and Moon to the place designated for the official welcoming ceremony

9:40am

  • Kim and Moon arrive at Panmunjeom Square, located in the truce village of Panmunjeom, which is considered to be in neutral territory
  • They “inspect” and “review” the honor guard
  • Official welcoming ceremony begins in the square (possibly including further honor guard “inspection”)
  • Kim and Moon greet official delegates from both sides, which include top military officials and diplomats
  • Welcoming ceremony concludes

Sometime in the morning (precise timing unclear)

  • Kim and Moon walk to the Peace House. The New York Times notes, “Panmunjom is sliced in two by the Military Demarcation Line. The summit meeting site in Panmunjom, Peace House, is technically on the South Korean side of the line.”
  • Kim signs Peace House guest book
  • He and Moon pose for “commemorative photos”
  • The two leaders “have a chat” in the reception room
  • They ascend to second floor conference room

10:30am

  • Inter-Korean Summit morning session begins

Break for lunch

  • Kim returns to North Korean side for lunch

After lunch

  • Kim rejoins Moon
  • In a plot of soil next to the MDL, the two leaders will plant a commemorative 65-year-old pine tree “as an expression of their wish for peace and prosperity.” The spot is chosen for its proximity to the path that Chung Ju-yung, chairman and founder of Hyundai Group, took when he visited his North Korean hometown in 1998, accompanied by a convoy of cattle-filled trucks. The tree, which dates back to the end of the Korean War, will be planted with a blend of soil transplanted from South Korea’s Hallasan mountain and Mount Baekdu, an active volcano on the North Korea-China border. The two mountains are the highest in each country. 
  • Kim will pour water from South Korea’s Han River on the commemorative tree
  • Using water from North Korea’s Daedong River, Moon will water the tree
  • Kim and Moon have a “friendly conversation” as they stroll to the footbridge
  • Kim and Moon walk back toward Peace House to continue afternoon talks

After the summit

  • The two leaders will sign an agreement, and possibly announce it, depending on its nature

6:30pm

  • Welcoming dinner in the third floor banquet hall begins (all officials will attend)

After the welcome dinner

  • Farewell ceremony begins; Kim and Moon kick back together to watch a video projected onto the side of the Peace House. Titled “A New Spring Enjoyed Together,” the film combines “beautiful images and music to represent the past, the present and the future of the Korean Peninsula”

That schedule might seem tight. But it could have been tighter, apparently. ”As various functions that usually accompany a summit can be omitted if it is held at Panmunjeom,” the Summit’s preparation committee notes in a press release (pdf, p.21),” the two leaders will be able to focus on their discussions.”

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