Kim Jong-un — a leader accustomed to pre-recording and heavy editing — being beamed live on televisions around the world, in a situation he for once couldn’t fully control.
But if the 30-something leader was nervous about this historical handshake, he didn’t show it.
As South Korean President Moon Jae-in waited on his side of the demarcation zone at the border, Mr Kim smiled, walked over and was the first to speak as the two leaders shook hands for about 30 seconds.
Both smiled as cameramen scrambled around them to capture the moment.
As pre-planned in this meticulously stage-managed event, Mr Kim then stepped over the line and the pair posed for photographers as the third generation of North Korea’s ruling dynasty set foot in South Korea for the first time.
But then something apparently unexpected happened.
As Mr Moon gestured for the pair to walk into South Korea towards the ceremonial area, Mr Kim stopped him and invited him to take a historical step of his own into North Korea.
It was a moment that appeared to catch the far more seasoned South Korean leader off guard.
Mr Moon hesitated.
So the younger man took his hand and together they hopped back over the border line as officials applauded.
It was the first time a South Korean leader had crossed the border since 2007 when the last leaders’ summit took place. (Mr Moon visited Pyongyang as a senior official to prepare for that meeting.)
It appeared to be a rare moment that veered off-script, one where a young leader long ridiculed abroad as a caricature showed his sophistication at a high-pressure showpiece event.
And it set a warm tone as both men preceded to smile and chat as they inspected a military band and posed for photos with their respective officials.
The two were handed flowers by a South Korean boy and girl, residents of a village situated in the demilitarised zone.
Walking on the red carpet rolled out for the two heads of state, the pair were met by a South Korean honour guard in historical costumes and playing traditional music.
Hopes for some sort of major announcement at this third Korean summit are not particularly high.
Many analysts believe this is more an entree to the main event — Mr Kim’s historical planned meeting with US President Donald Trump.
But visually at least, the beginning of this summit displayed a friendliness and warmth that seems decades away from the military parades and talk of war that overshadowed the Korean Peninsula just months ago.
How quickly things can change.
Source: ABC News