North and South Korea set date for leaders' summit

Friday, 30 Mar, 2018

The meeting between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in will be only the third of its kind and the venue would make Kim the first North Korean leader to visit the South since the Korean War of the early 1950s.

It comes after Kim's visit to China earlier this week, his first trip outside of North Korea since taking power seven years ago.

The president is expected to meet face to face with Kim sometime in May.

The Kim-Moon summit will precede a bombshell encounter between the young North Korean leader and US President Donald Trump - the first time a sitting US leader has met with a member of the Kim dynasty.

The president did conclude the riff by thanking South Korea for their help in the talks.

He said however that sanctions on North Korea would continue.

Seoul's Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon said officials from both Koreas exchanged opinions on the agendas of the summit but Cho didn't provide a clear answer on whether Thursday's discussions included the nuclear issue.

The North was represented by Ri Son-gwon, chairman of the Committee of the Peaceful Reunification of the Country of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, a cabinet-level agency overlooking relations with the South; Jon Jong-su, vice chairman of the same committee; and Kim Myong-il, a director-level official from the committee.

South Korea's priorities are to agree on a path towards denuclerization of the Korean peninsula, which would involve Pyongyang getting rid of its nuclear weapons and facilities, as well as formally establishing a peace agreement to end the hostilities resulting from 1950-53 Korean War-the armistice signed three years in 1953 was never followed by a comprehensive peace treaty. During his China trip, Kim again stated he wanted to "resolve" the issue of denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, according to Chinese state media.

"There's only a month left before the North-South summit", Ri said in closing remarks, according to pool reports, "and during this short period, there are many things to discuss at the working-level".

He expressed hopes for an outcome that would meet the "hope and desire of the nation".

"This issue of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula can be resolved, if South Korea and the USA respond to our efforts with goodwill, create an atmosphere of peace and stability while taking progressive and synchronous measures for the realization of peace", said Kim during his summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing earlier this week, according to Xinhua, China's state news agency.

Kim Jong Un and Xi Jinping hold talks in Beijing.

The announcement is yet another development in recent diplomatic efforts carried out in the Korean Peninsula.

Senior negotiators met Thursday to discuss the specifics of the historic summit.

It appears Trump believes holding up what he considers a "wonderful deal" for the United States until later in the North Korea negotiations will help keep pressure on South Korea to facilitate the talks.