North and South Korea leaders to hold summit in April

Arnold Nichols
March 30, 2018

A South Korean delegation visited Pyongyang earlier this month and met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, making them the first officials from the South to ever meet with Kim in person.

At the meeting in Beijing, the North Korean leader repeated his offer to denuclearise the Korean Peninsula.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korea's President Moon Jae-in will hold a rare meeting aimed at improving ties and easing tensions on April 27, authorities announced Thursday.

On Thursday, high-ranking Chinese diplomat and Politburo member Yang Jiechi arrived in Seoul to brief South Korean officials on the North Korean leader's visit to Beijing.

"I may hold it up until after a deal is made with North Korea", Trump said in a speech.

Chinese state media reports Kim told President Xi he is committed to a nuclear-free Korean peninsula and is willing to discuss the issue with the U.S.; Rich Edson reports from the State Department.

But tension has eased significantly since North Korea made a decision to send athletes to the Winter Olympics in South Korea in February.

North and South Korea have experienced a significant easing in tensions since the Winter Olympics in the South in February.

On Wednesday, Chinese news agency Xinhua quoted North Korean leader Kim as saying the nuclear weapons issue could be resolved if South Korea and the United States respond to North Korea's ongoing efforts "with goodwill".

The confirmation of the summit is the outcome of weeks of hurried diplomacy, after a surprise thaw in relations on the Korean peninsula earlier this year.


The first round will be held on April 4th - that's next Wednesday - on the South Korean side of Panmunjeom, to discuss protocol, security and press coverage for the summit.

The countries also agreed to hold a separate meeting to discuss communication issues, such as setting up a telephone hotline between Moon and Kim, and maintain working-level discussions through document exchanges, according to the statement.

The negotiators at Panmunjom, the so-called truce village that straddles the border, were expected to decide on a date for the meeting, and to discuss the agenda and various details.

Even so the two leaders hailed their nations' historic ties, with Xi accepting Kim's invitation to visit Pyongyang, according to the North's official Korean Central News Agency.

Experts say that Moon should play the role of a coordinator between the two unpredictable leaders, who have very different views on how to make the Korean Peninsula free of nuclear-weapons. The Chinese envoy is also scheduled to meet President Moon on Friday.

It's unclear whether the leaders' meetings could lead to any meaningful breakthrough.

A summit between Kim and President Donald Trump is also anticipated by the end of May.

Events have moved quickly since then, with a flurry of official visits between the two Koreas and an advance team of Southern performers heading north on Thursday ahead of K-pop concerts in Pyongyang.

South Korean interlocutors who participated in the high-level dialogue Thursday included Unification Minister Cho, Vice Unification Minister Chun Hae-sung and Yoon Young-chan, senior presidential secretary for public affairs. The South Korean artists performing in the North include some of the country's most popular pop singers, including Cho Yong-pil, who performed in Pyongyang during a previous era of detente, and girl band Red Velvet.

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