North, South Korea fix April date for first summit in years

30 March, 2018, 00:39 | Author: Kim Reid
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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. The meeting could potentially take place in June.

As per the news reports from Yonhap news agency, the pair will hold a meet in the Peace House on the southern side of Panmunjon.

Next month's summit - a precursor to a potential meeting between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump - is the culmination of diplomatic efforts after North Korea fired a flurry of missiles past year. The Korean Peninsula was divided in 1945 into a US -dominated south and Soviet-backed north, which became sovereign nations three years later.

In response, Mr Cho said officials in the preparatory talks should do their best to set up a successful summit as the "current situation was created by decisions from the highest leaders of the North and South".

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Moon made these priorities clear throughout his campaign and, during his inauguration in May, pledged to do "everything" he could "to build peace on the Korean peninsula". "North Korea summit will be a very hard one".

"Over the past 80 days, there have been many dramatic events that have not been seen earlier", Ri Son-gwon, the North's chief delegate, said at the start of the meeting.

South Korea's lead negotiator, minister Cho, confirmed Moon's goals have not changed. "But, it won't be easy because the pressuring North Korea strongly to accept Libyan-model solutions by hiring [the hawkish Mike] Pompeo [as Secretary of State] and others, while Pyongyang will try to resist this". The North Korean side did not mention anything about denuclearization today. A top USA military commander told the House Armed Services Committee last month he thinks Kim's objective is to pursue reunification with South Korea, imposing his ideology on the southern neighbor.

It was the North Korean leader's first overseas trip since inheriting power following the death of his father, Kim Jong-Il, in 2011.

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North Korea remained vague about its objectives even after Thursday's meeting. Kono said in an interview with Reuters on Tuesday that Japan was closely watching preparations for the North-South Korean summit and the Trump-Kim meeting.

"But if the two sides deeply understand the historic significance and meaning of this summit and give their all, we will be able to solve all problems swiftly and amicably", Ri added. "The dialogue has once again become the main theme".

After the meeting, Cho told South Korean reporters there was a "sufficient exchange of opinions" on the agenda for the summit, but didn't provide a clear answer on whether discussions of the nuclear issue will be included.

The leaders of South and North Korea will meet on April 27 for the first inter-Korean summit since 2007, officials from both countries agreed Thursday in a high-level meeting.

Scattered snow and rain showers today
This will allow our temperatures to get around 60F, which is much cooler than where we should be for this time of the year. Scattered showers will continue around western Montana this morning, then begin to move out by late morning and afternoon.

Separately, Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi met South Korean National Security Adviser Chung Eui-yong on Thursday to discuss the recent North Korean-Chinese summit in Beijing.


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