Koreas fix date and place for historic summit

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The two Koreas agreed Thursday to hold what will be only their third summit since the 1950 to 1953 Korean War on April 27, the South Korean news agency Yonhap reported, following talks in the border village of Panmunjom.

In his recent visit to China, Kim reportedly stated North Korea's commitment to denuclearization was the country's "consistent stand", but in fact Pyongyang has always been paying lip-service to the idea of getting rid of nuclear weapons, just to blame the USA and its joint military drills with South Korea for its need to have a "nuclear deterrent".

The rapid rapprochement was kicked off by the Winter Olympics in the South and comes after a year of heightened tensions over the North's nuclear and missile programmes, which saw Kim and US President Donald Trump engaged in a war of words.

The question now is whether the summit can lay the groundwork for a successful Trump-Kim meeting and a return to multi-nation talks on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

The last inter-Korean summit was held more than a decade ago when then President Roh Moo-hyun met Kim's father, Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang in October 2007.

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South Korean officials echoed similar sentiments.

South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon and his North Korean counterpart Ri Son Gwon pose for photographs before their meeting at the truce village of Panmunjom, North Korea, March 29, 2018.

"North Korea summits to provide a clear turning point for eternal denuclearization and a peace system on the Korean Peninsula", spokesman Kim said. "We still have a fair number of issues to resolve on a working-level for preparations over the next month", said Ri said, quoted in Reuters.

The summit date, announced by South Korean officials on Thursday after Mr. Kim returned to Pyongyang from a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, will bring a North Korean leader south of the demilitarized zone for the first time.

The two sides will hold another preparatory meeting on April 4 to discuss protocol, security and media coverage issues.

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After the meeting, Cho told South Korean reporters there was a "sufficient exchange of opinions" on the agenda for the summit, but didn't provide a clear answer on whether discussions of the nuclear issue will be included.

A senior Chinese official visiting Seoul on Thursday to brief South Korea on Kim's visit to Beijing, said it should help ease tension and lead to the denuclearization of the peninsula.

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

In his talks with Mr Xi, Mr Kim may have discussed economic co-operation with China or requested a softening of enforcement of sanctions over the North's nuclear weapons.

But Kim added that it is up to the United States and South Korea whether the goal can be achieved, according to China's official media.

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Trump wrote on Twitter he had received a message from Xi late on Tuesday that his meeting with Kim "went very well" and that Kim looked forward to meeting the USA president.

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