China Welcomes Two Koreas Setting Date for Summit


North and South Korea will hold their first summit in more than a decade on April 27, after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pledged his commitment to denuclearisation as tensions eased between the old foes.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un greets a member of the special delegation of South Korea's President at a dinner in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on March 6, 2018.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (C) was treated to a lavish welcome by Chinese President Xi Jinping during a secretive trip to Beijing as both sides seek to fix frayed ties ahead of landmark summits with Seoul and Washington.

It comes after Kim's visit to China earlier this week, his first trip outside of North Korea since taking power seven years ago.

Early this month Mr. Kim agreed to a meeting with Mr. Moon, part of a flurry of diplomacy around Pyongyang's nuclear program that began with the North's participation last month in the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

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. Cho told reporters that the desired items on the docket to discuss for both world leaders were "not too different", both allegedly seeking to discuss denuclearization and the establishment of what Cho called a "peace regime", according to the South Korean Joongang Daily newspaper.

Kim subdued those anxieties by reportedly assuring Xi that their meeting "will yield abundant fruits of DPRK-China friendship, and facilitate peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula".

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Yang is expected to meet other security and diplomatic officials and brief them on Kim's visit. "But, it won't be easy because the pressuring North Korea strongly to accept Libyan-model solutions by hiring [the hawkish Mike] Pompeo [as Secretary of State] and others, while Pyongyang will try to resist this".

Minister Cho Myoung-gyon issued his own remarks, celebrating "another start of a great journey to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, bring peace to the peninsula and develop inter-Korean ties".

On Wednesday, Chinese news agency Xinhua quoted Kim as saying the nuclear weapons issue could be resolved if South Korea and the USA respond to North Korea's efforts "with goodwill".

The delegations from the two Koreas met at the Unification Pavilion building on the northern side of the border truce of village of Panmunjom on Thursday to discuss the exact date and agenda of next month's summit. The leaders of the two Koreas have held talks only twice since the 1950-53 Korean War, in 2000 and 2007, under previous liberal governments in Seoul.

Asked about the agenda of the summit, North Korea's Ri Son-kwon only said (quote)"our agenda covers everything in inter-Korean relations".

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is learning how to make friends and influence people, but to what end remains to be seen.

Analysts say both sides had reason to hold the meeting - Pyongyang to secure Beijing's backing and support, and China to protect its interests in what it considers its backyard.