President Moon Jae-in (second from right) and North Korea’s Chairman of the State Affairs Commission Kim Jong Un (second from left) hold high each other’s hands atop Janggun Peak of Baekdusan Mountain in North Korea on Sept. 20. (Pyeongyang Press Corps)

“I believe it won’t take long before the general public from the South can come here to sightsee.” 

So said President Moon Jae-in as he reached Janggun Peak, the highest spot atop Baekdusan Mountain, the highest mountain on the Korean Peninsula, alongside first lady Kim Jung-sook and the North Korean first couple on Sept. 20. Here, they could look down on the famous Cheonji Lake that sits at the top of the mountain. 

“Many South Koreans have gone up the mountain from the Chinese side, but I pledged to climb the mountain through our own territory, rather than start out in China,” said President Moon. “Now, my dreams have been realized.” 

“Since the division of the two Koreas, it has become a mountain that the people could only yearn to see,” said North Korea’s Chairman of State Affairs Commission Kim Jong Un. “More people from the South as well as overseas Koreans should come and see Baekdusan Mountain.” 

The president and the first lady left the Beakhwawon state guesthouse, where they stayed during their visit to Pyeongyang, in the early morning and arrived at the Samjiyon Airport located near the mountain at 8:20 a.m. and joined Chairman Kim and North Korea’s first lady Ri Sol Ju there. 

The two first couples moved to Janggun Peak by car and had some friendly chitchat while looking at Cheonji Lake. They briefly dropped by Hyangdo Station, at which a train to the mountain stops, and then moved on to the lake via a gondola at 10:20 a.m. 


The first couples of the two Koreas visited Cheonji Lake on the top of Baekdusan Mountain together on the third day of President Moon Jae-in’s trip to North Korea on Sept. 20.

Chairman Kim described Janggun Peak as the best spot from which to appreciate Cheonji Lake, and suggested they take a group photo. President Moon then said, “Here, Chairman Kim and I should raise our hands together.“ The two Korean leaders held their hands up high with a huge smile beaming across their faces. 

The first ladies also engaged in conversation while at the mountain. 

“There’s an old saying in our country that the sunrise is seen from Baekdusan Mountain and that unification is greeted at Hallasan Mountain,” said Ri. 

“I have brought water from the lake on top of Hallasan Mountain,” said the South Korean first lady. “I will pour half of the bottle into Cheonji and refill the bottle with water from it.” 

“Even a year ago, it was practically impossible to imagine the sight of the leaders of North and South Korea and their wives standing together with Cheonji Lake on Bakedusan Mountain in the background,“ said Yoon Young-chan, senior secretary to the president for public communication, during his regular afternoon briefing at the Seoul Press Center that day. “Of course, we still have a long way to go and there may be bumps along the way, but I am certain that the energy endowed upon the two leaders by Baekdusan Mountain confirms the one-ness of the Korean people and offers a new ray of hope for peace on the Korean Peninsula.” 


President Moon Jae-in (left) fills up a bottle with water from Cheonji Lake atop Baekdusan Mountain on Sept. 20. (Pyeongyang Press Corps)


The first couples of the two Korea ride a gondola from Janggun Peak down to Cheonji Lake at Beakdusan Mountain on Sept. 20.