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Japan welcomed South Korean President Kim Dae Jung’s arrival in Pyongyang on Tuesday as a “smooth” start to the first-ever inter-Korea summit and expressed hope that the three-day meeting will yield “good achievements.”

“We welcome the warm and highest-class welcome ceremony, and the visit got off to a smooth start,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Ryuichiro Yamazaki told reporters in reference to North Korean leader Kim Jong Il’s unprecedented appearance to receive the South Korean president at the airport.

The historic meeting is boosting hopes that the two sides on the divided Korean Peninsula can end their more than half-century of hostilities and begin moving toward reconciliation. The meeting also represents a hard-won success for the South Korean president’s “Sunshine Policy” of constructive engagement with the North.

Yamazaki called it “very good” that the welcome ceremony “was broadcast live in real time, opening it up to the world.”

“We hope for good achievements through the series of summit meetings,” he said.