In a meeting that's widely viewed as a preamble to a historic summit involving President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the leaders of the two Korea's - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in - are preparing to meet at the border at 9:30 am local time on Friday.
Friday’s summit will take place in the Peace House in in the border town of Panmunjom, located in the heart of the demilitarized zone.
Im Jong-seok, the chief of staff for President Moon, provided a full itinerary of the meeting - which will involve the ceremonial planting of a pine tree on the border - to Bloomberg:
- Kim to walk across border to South
- Kim to review South Korean military’s honor guard after walking together with Moon
- Moon, Kim to start summit at 10:30am local time Friday
- Moon, Kim to have lunch separately after morning meeting
- Moon, Kim to plant pine tree on border after lunch
- Moon, Kim to walk together around border before afternoon session
- Two Koreas to sign, announce agreements after summit
- Moon to host banquet for Kim from 6:30pm at peace house
- No Plan to extend summit to Saturday for now
- S. Korea: undecided whether Kim’s wife will accompany; hopes Kim’s wife to join dinner
- Kim Jong Un’s sister part of North Korean delegation
- S. Korea says issues related to denuclearization can’t be fully resolved at the inter-Korean summit; S. Korea would consider the summit a success if the North’s intention of denuclearization is included in the agreement
Meanwhile, South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha credited President Trump with bringing the two Korean leaders together for Friday's summit during an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour that's slated to air Thursday night.
"Clearly, credit goes to President Trump," Kang told CNN's Christiane Amanpour in Seoul. "He's been determined to come to grips with this from day one."
During the summit, Kim will become the first North Korean leader to cross the DMZ.
The detente between the two countries was an unexpected - but welcome - development, Kang said, for which President Moon also deserves credit. According to her, the combination of tough rhetoric and sanctions was key in bringing the North to the table.
Kang told Amanpour that the détente was unexpected. "I think we're all surprised. Obviously pleasantly surprised. I think by all indications we are headed towards a very successful summit between my president and Chairman Kim tomorrow."
She said that Moon's determination also played a role in the thaw. In her analysis, the combination of tough rhetoric and economic and travel sanctions were instrumental.
President Trump's rhetoric, of course, has shifted on North Korea as a summit became a more real possibility.
In August, he threatened "fire and fury like the world has never seen." In September, he said "Rocket Man s on a suicide mission." This week, he said that Kim Jong-un had been "very open and I think very honorable."
Kang admitted Presidents Moon and Trump have at times had "different messaging," but insisted that they maintained close consultations.
At the end, the message was North Korea will not be accepted -- never be accepted as a nuclear power."
Kang said that, if the two leaders can produce a written statement of understanding "on a broad set of issues", then the meeting would be considered a success.
When asked what would constitute success for President Moon's summit with Kim, Kang suggested a joint statement of understanding "on a broad set of issues" including denuclearization, peace, and relations between the two countries.
"If we can get -- put in writing the North Korean leader's commitment to denuclearization, that would be a very solid outcome." She said that it would be "unrealistic" to expect sudden movement toward a formal peace treaty between the two countries.
They have formally been at war since the 1950s, restrained only by an armistice agreement. "You need to create the reality of peace by removing hostilities... And then when there is sufficient confidence on both sides, then you are ready to sign a peace treaty." Sanctions on North Korea, she said, will not be eased until Kim takes "visible, meaningful steps" toward denuclearization.
Trump reaffirmed earlier during an interview with Fox News that, while there's still a chance the US-North Korea talks might not happen, the two sides had picked out three possible dates and five possible locations for the summit.