The leaders of North and South Korea have not met for the last eight years, but the marathon 44-hour talks that brought the bitter rivals back from the brink of conflict was effectively a summit by proxy.

They were not in the room, but the North's Kim Jong Un and the South's President Park Geun-hye might as well have been talking to each other in the unprecedented round-the-clock discussions, which ended early Tuesday.

As their top aides haggled in a three-story building on the South Korean side of the heavily militarized border, proceedings were linked live by video to both the presidential Blue House in Seoul and to Pyongyang, said South Korean officials briefed on the closed-door talks.