Leaders of two Koreas set for historic summit

Friday, 2018-04-27 06:54:58
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Leaders of two Koreas set for historic summit today, April 27, 2018. (Photo:Yonhap)
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The Republic of Korea (RoK) President Moon Jae-in and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) leader Kim Jong-un were set to hold a historic summit today (April 27).

They are scheduled to meet at 9:30 a.m. (KST) when Kim crosses the Military Demarcation Line to the RoK’s side of the border village of Panmunjom, inside the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone, according to the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.

Kim left Pyongyang early Friday (April 27), the DPRK's official Korean Central News Agency reported.

"Kim Jong-un will open-heartedly discuss with Moon Jae-in all the issues arising in improving inter-Korean relations and achieving peace, prosperity and reunification of the Korean peninsula," it said.

Moon was set to head for Panmunjom at around 8 a.m., according to a Cheong Wa Dae official.

The two leaders will jointly inspect a RoK honor guard as part of an official ceremony to welcome the DPRK leader. The official talks will begin at 10:30 a.m.

The main agenda of their marathon talks will be the DPRK's denuclearization, a permanent peace of the peninsula and inter-Korean cooperation.

It is the third inter-Korean summit, but the first to be held in RoK, making Kim the first DPRK leader to step on RoK’s soil since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. The two Koreas technically remain at war as the Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. The two previous inter-Korean summits, in 2000 and 2007, were both held in Pyongyang.

The latest inter-Korean summit follows recent rapprochement between the two Koreas, largely created by the DPRK's participation in the recently concluded Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in RoK's PyeongChang.

Tensions between the Koreas had peaked prior to the DPRK's participation in the winter sporting event as Pyongyang staged nearly a dozen missile launches in less than seven months after Moon's inauguration in May 2017, along with its sixth nuclear test in September.

Amid a flurry of inter-Korean dialogue and exchanges during the Winter Games, Kim sent his younger sister Yo-jong as a special envoy to the RoK president, inviting Moon to Pyongyang for a third inter-Korean summit.

Moon sent his top security adviser Chung Eui-yong as his special envoy to Pyongyang where the chief of the presidential National Security Office held an unprecedented meeting with who was then known only as a reclusive leader ofthe world's most clandestine regime.

In his meeting with the RoK official, which may have also marked his international debut, the DPRK leader said his country was willing to denuclearize in exchange for a security guarantee.

Moon has said his meeting with Kim will mainly focus on ways to completely and verifiably denuclearize the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner.

He says they may also discuss formally ending the Korean War with a peace treaty, though such efforts would require three-way discussions involving the two Koreas and the United States.

The DPRK leader earlier offered to hold a separate summit with US President Donald Trump following his meeting with Moon. Trump has agreed to meet with Kim for what will be the first-ever US-DPRK summit, which he says will likely take place in May or early June.

The Moon-Kim meeting will end later in the day following a welcome dinner to be hosted by the RoK leader, according to Cheong Wa Dae.

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