Published: Fri, March 30, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

North and South Korea agree date for historic summit

North and South Korea agree date for historic summit

"According to the will of both leaders, the South and North agreed to hold the "2018 South-North summit" on April 27 at the South's Peace House in Panmunjom", said a joint press statement, read out in turn by both delegations' leaders.

The announcement today came after officials from the two countries held talks in the border village of Panmunjom and agreed on a rare summit that could prove significant in global efforts to resolve the decades-long stand-off over the North's nuclear programme. On Thursday, March 29, leaders of the two neighbours who are technically still at war set a date for a summit in April at the border truce village of Panjmunjom.

Cho after the meeting told South Korean reporters there was a "sufficient exchange of opinions" on the agendas of the summit, but didn't provide a clear answer on whether the discussions included the nuclear issue. "North Korea summit will be a very hard one".

South Korea's preparatory committee for the summit previously said Seoul would prepare for the meeting focusing on the three points: "the denuclearization on the Korean peninsula, a permanent peace settlement including easing military tensions dramatically, and fresh and bold progress in South-North relations".

This will be the first time an inter-Korean summit will be held after 18 years. The summit, according to Reuters, will focus on improving bilateral relations and denuclearizing the peninsula, something Kim indicated he would be willing to pursue. It would be the third such meeting between the two countries, and the first since 2007. Trump has repeatedly stated his belief that Kim's apparent eagerness to meet is due to the pressure tactics, notably sanctions, applied by the United States and its allies, and that these tactics must continue, even during the upcoming talks.

Trump and Kim had exchanged insults and veiled threats of war in recent months but the US leader made the surprising announcement this month that he was prepared to meet Kim to discuss the crisis over the North's development of weapons.

The trip was the North Korean leader's first since taking power, and the first between a DPRK leader and a Chinese President since 2011.

Mr Trump is set to will meet with Mr Kim by May, a top South Korean official announced.

"The issue of (North Korea's) denuclearisation has been the most important agenda item".

Even so, the current air of détente and hope is an about-turn from the events of 2017, when, amid nuclear and missile tests by North Korea, and a war of words between Pyongyang and Washington, there were fears that the USA might conduct a military strike on the North.

President Donald Trump said Thursday that he is considering slowing down negotiations on a new trade deal with South Korea to maintain maximum pressure on North Korea before his planned summit with Kim Jung Un. Mr Trump accepted the offer and they could meet as soon as May.

The North's diplomatic outreach comes after an unusually provocative year where it conducted its most powerful nuclear test to date and three intercontinental ballistic missiles created to target the USA mainland. The Asahi newspaper said earlier that Kim Jong Un's administration was seeking a summit with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

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