With a giant TV screen in its capital, and a break from classes for students to watch live coverage, much of South Korea will hit the pause button on Friday to watch history unfold - the first time a North Korean leader crosses the border to visit.
Another followed seven years later.
"I feel North Korea is sending their key military officials to the summit as they too, believe denuclearization and peace are important", said South Korea presidential spokesperson Im Jong-seok.
In a dramatic gesture just days before the summit, Kim announced North Korea would suspend nuclear and long-range missile tests and dismantle its only known nuclear test site.
Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, a key US ally, were to meet Friday in the heavily militarized frontier between the Koreas. The two leaders are confronted with three major challenges: denuclearization, building a so-called permanent peace regime and improving South-North relations.
The United States stations 28,500 troops in South Korea as a legacy of the Cold War conflict, which pitted the South, the United States and United Nations forces against the communist North, backed by China and Russian Federation.
Trump told "Fox & Friends" that his tough approach toward the North, and now his willingness to engage with Kim, had reduced the risk of nuclear war.
The inter-Korean summit should not serve as some sort of precursor to a U.S.
With heavily armed soldiers and propaganda broadcasts blasted over loundspeakers from both sides, the DMZ has always been a symbol of hostilities on the divided peninsula. The countries also agreed to resume reunions of families divided between North and South. Kim Dae-jung won the Nobel Peace Prize later in 2000 for his rapprochement policies with the North.
Trump revealed more information about outgoing CIA Director Mike Pompeo's secret trip to North Korea this month, saying Pompeo wasn't supposed to meet with Kim, but that they ended up talking for more than an hour.
Trump acknowledged the rhetoric that both he and Kim deployed over the past year and the schoolyard taunts of nuclear "buttons" was "very, very nasty" and heightened fears of nuclear war. The summit comes after North Korea sent athletes, musical performers and officials to February's Winter Olympics, including Kim's sister, who met with Moon to deliver her brother's desire for a summit.
There is also concern that North Korea could insist on taking incremental steps in return for simultaneous incentives from Washington, the kind of a phased approach that USA officials have rejected.
"They had a great meeting", Trump said, without revealing what they discussed. United Nations sanctions imposed since North Korea's first nuclear test in 2006 and expanded over the past decade deny North Korea a considerable amount of worldwide trade.