North and South Korea to hold summit in April

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South and North Korea will hold the third-ever meeting of their leaders on April 27, as both sides confirmed plans for the summit during high-level talks at their closely guarded border Thursday.

The date was announced after high-level officials from the two sides met in the border village Panmunjom on Thursday to prepare for the summit.

The nations agreed to discuss security and protocol for the upcoming summit at meetings next Wednesday, Yonhap reported. The announcement was made this afternoon by both South Korea's unification minister Cho Myoung-gyon and Ri Son-kwon, chairman of the North's Committee for Peaceful Reunification. However, it will be the first time a North Korean leader has stepped across the border, painted on the cement between Panmunjeom's iconic blue huts, and onto the South's soil.

The leaders of North and South Korea have agreed to meet next month. The Korean Peninsula was divided in 1945 into a US-dominated south and Soviet-backed north. "This, as it is known to all, is what the Chinese side has insisted on and persistently worked for", Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a regular press briefing, calling for all parties involved in the area to support inter-Korean talks "to promote the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the political settlement of the Peninsula issue".

North and South Korea to hold summit in April
North and South Korea to hold summit in April

Beijing, however, has struggled to avoid irritating North Korea, amid growing fears that taking a hard-line stance on Pyongyang could lead Kim to turn some of its missiles towards Beijing.

Even so the two leaders hailed their nations' historic ties, with Xi accepting Kim's invitation to visit Pyongyang, according to the North's official Korean Central News Agency.

Trump and Kim had exchanged insults and veiled threats of war in recent months but the USA leader made the surprising announcement this month that he was prepared to meet Kim to discuss the crisis over the North's development of weapons.

A TOP South Korean official set off today for a high-level meeting with the North's officials in the Demilitarised Zone to prepare for an inter-Korean summit, days after Kim Jong-un made his global debut with a surprise trip to China.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in will meet with the isolated dictator in Panmunjom, the "truce village" in the demilitarized zone that has separated the Korean peninsula for decades.

The development came just a few days after Kim made his first worldwide trip to China, Pyongyang's regional ally that left many surprised.

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

Mr Kim is also scheduled to meet US President Donald Trump some time in May to discuss denuclearisation, although a time and place have not been set for that summit. The Asahi newspaper said earlier that Kim Jong Un's administration was seeking a summit with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

North Korea reportedly expects between $20 billion and $50 billion in aid from Japan if they normalize their relations, internal party papers reportedly revealed.

Mr Trump and Kim had exchanged threats and insults in recent months.

"I don't think talks between China and North Korea would be a new material for the won", said Masashi Murata, a currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman in Tokyo.