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South Korean President Moon Jae-in will clear a top item off his bucket list on Thursday: Climbing Mount Paektu in North Korea with its leader Kim Jong Un.
After the two leaders pledged new steps aimed at salvaging nuclear talks, South Korea made a surprise announcement that Moon and Kim will use the final day of their three-day summit to go up the symbolic mountain together.
Moon is known for his love of mountain climbing and has trekked in the Himalayas at least twice. The president has long stated that he would love to one day visit Mount Paektu, which is also sometimes spelled Baekdu.
As the highest mountain on the Korean peninsula at about 2,750 meters (9,000 ft) above sea level, Mount Paektu is the mythical origin of the Korean people, featuring in South Korea's national anthem and various North Korean propaganda.
Although Mount Paektu straddles the North Korea-China border and can be reached from China, where it is known as Changbai Mountain, Moon has never visited.
That is because when he goes up Mount Paektu, he wants to go "stepping on our soil," Kim Eui-kyeom, spokesman for the presidential Blue House, told reporters on Wednesday.
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