The date for the first meeting between a North Korean and South Korean leader in a decade has been set for April 27, South Korean officials told US media. For the first time since the Korean War broke out in 1948, a North Korean leader will cross the DMZ to attend the meetings, which are set to be held in South Korea.
After Kim Jong Un promised that he would consider denuclearization of the peninsula during talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping this week, it appears that the multiple rounds of sanctions imposed by the UN and the US are having their desired effect.
According to Bloomberg, the last inter-Korean summit was held in October 2007 between then President Roh Moo-hyun and Kim Jong Il, the father of Kim Jong Un. The pair signed a peace declaration calling to end the armistice with a permanent treaty, but progress stalled and the two sides remain in a stalemate. While the two countries allowed for some family reunions, relations later soured under a more conservative administration in the South.
President Trump, who has repeatedly threatened the North with nuclear annihilation, cheered Kim's decision to seek a detente with the West and a meeting with the US.
Received message last night from XI JINPING of China that his meeting with KIM JONG UN went very well and that KIM looks forward to his meeting with me. In the meantime, and unfortunately, maximum sanctions and pressure must be maintained at all cost!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 28, 2018
A government spokesman said South Koreans were encouraged to be "united in making a groundbreaking turning point for peace."
"As the date for the inter-Korean summit is finalized now, we will do our best to be fully prepared for it during the given time," Moon’s spokesman, Kim Eui-kyeom, said in a text message. "We hope all South Koreans will be united in making a groundbreaking turning point for peace settlement on the Korean Peninsula at the summit."
The subject of the talks will be improving inter-Korean relations and de-nuclearization, according to Reuters.
The two Koreas had agreed to hold the summit at the border truce village of Panmunjom when South Korean President Moon Jae-in sent a delegation to Pyongyang this month to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
According to a statement, the two sides will hold a working-level meeting on April 4 to discuss details of the summit, such as staffing support, security and news releases.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported that the North has also expressed a desire to meet with the Japanese government.
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono told parliament that his nation would consider holding talks with North Korea in the context of the other summits taking place. The Asahi newspaper said earlier that Kim Jong Un’s administration was seeking a summit with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The yen weakened to a two-week low against the dollar after the report.
As a reminder, talks between the US and the North, which are tentatively expected to be held at the DMZ, are set for May.