North, South Korea Leaders Set for Historic Meeting


North Korea’s Leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in are set to meet for talks that will centre on denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula on Friday morning.

The South Korean President and the North’s leader will meet at the military demarcation line at the Peace House in Panmunjom on Friday, World News reported.

A tree planting ceremony that will symbolize “peace and prosperity” is scheduled for later the day. The Presidents will plant a pine tree born in 1953 when Seoul and Pyongyang signed an armistice ending the Korean War.

At the end of talks, Kim and Moon will sign a pact and make an announcement. Later, the two leaders will have dinner on the Southern side of the border and watch a video clip themed “Spring of One” before wrapping up.

The North Korean delegation at the summit will consist of nine high-ranking government officials. Kim will be accompanied by Kim Yong-nam, President of the Presidium of North Korea’s Supreme People’s Assembly, and his younger sister Kim Yo Jong, Director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department. Other delegation members will be Ri Myong Su, the Chief of General Staff of the Korean People’s Army, Defense Minister Pak Yong Sik, and Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho.

South Korea’s delegation will consist of seven officials, including Defense Minister Song Young-moo, the country’s top diplomat Kang Kyung-wha and Unification Minister Cho Myoung Gyon.

Some 3,000 journalists from all over the world will cover the event, the first one in more than a decade.

It is only the third time leaders of the two Koreas meet since an armistice agreement ended the Korean War in 1953. It is also the first summit between the two countries since 2007.

The North Korean leader on Saturday declared that Pyongyang no longer needs to continue ballistic missile and nuclear weapons testing. It came a day after North and South Korea established a hotline.

The South Korean President had also expressed his support for the North’s long-time demand to sign a full-fledged peace treaty instead of the Korean Armistice Agreement concluded in 1953 after the end of the Korean War, noting that the upcoming inter-Korean summit was a “dramatic change”.

Officials from the two states are negotiating a joint statement outlining a formal end to hostilities. North and South Korea are in talks to announce a permanent end to the officially declared military conflict between the two countries, according to a report. Ahead of the summit, lawmakers from the neighboring states were thought to be negotiating the details of a joint statement that could outline an end to the confrontation.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump hailed the development in a tweet on Friday, saying “North Korea has agreed to suspend all Nuclear Tests and close up a major test site. This is very good news for North Korea and the World – big progress! Look forward to our Summit”.

Trump had said US-North Korean talks are being held at an “extremely” high level, one level short of the “highest”, and locations are now being considered for his historic meeting with Kim.

A possible meeting between Kim and Trump is also being planned to be held in late May or early June.

Also, CIA Director Mike Pompeo also flew to North Korea earlier this year and met with the nation’s Leader, according to The Washington Post. The New York Times reported earlier this month that Pompeo had taken a lead role in preparing for the historic meeting between Trump and Kim, which would be the first between a sitting US President and the Leader of North Korea.

The North Korean leader had also made a surprise visit to China in late March, in his first ever trip out of North Korea since coming into power in 2011. Kim and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping held talks in Beijing.