Two Koreas to hold summit along border next month

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (centre) with his wife Ri Sol Ju and Mr Chung Eui Yong, head of the visiting South Korean delegation, seated beside him at Kobangsan Guesthouse in Pyongyang on Monday. Also at the table was Mr Kim's younger sister Kim
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (centre) with his wife Ri Sol Ju and Mr Chung Eui Yong, head of the visiting South Korean delegation, seated beside him at Kobangsan Guesthouse in Pyongyang on Monday. Also at the table was Mr Kim's younger sister Kim Yo Jong.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

North and South Korea will hold their first summit since 2007 along their joint border next month, amid a rapid easing of tensions since last month's Winter Olympics.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will meet South Korean President Moon Jae In in Panmunjom, the truce village in the Demilitarised Zone, at the end of next month, the South said yesterday.

Seoul also said the North is willing to give up its nuclear weapons if the safety of Mr Kim's regime is guaranteed, increasing pressure on the United States to agree to peace talks. "North Korea made clear its willingness to denuclearise the Korean peninsula and the fact there is no reason for it to have a nuclear programme if military threats against the North are resolved and its regime is secure," Mr Chung Eui Yong, the head of a South Korean delegation which met Mr Kim in Pyongyang earlier this week, told a media briefing.

He also said that the North was willing to hold candid talks with the US to discuss denuclearisation and the normalising of ties.

The US position has been that dialogue must be aimed at North Korea's denuclearisation, something Pyongyang had rejected. US President Donald Trump reacted positively to the latest overture, but stayed non-committal. "Possible progress being made in talks with North Korea... May be false hope, but the US is ready to go hard in either direction!"

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 07, 2018, with the headline 'Two Koreas to hold summit along border next month'. Print Edition | Subscribe