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17 Apr 2024, Edition - 3200, Wednesday

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World News

Kim Jong-un to meet Moon Jae-in at Korean border for summit



Kim Jong-un will on Friday become the first North Korean leader since the war to cross the military demarcation line that divides the Korean peninsula.

He will be meeting South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in, the first such diplomacy in more than a decade.

In newly announced details, South Korea said Mr Moon would meet Mr Kim at the border at 09:30 local time (00:30 GMT).

The historic talks will focus on the North’s recent suggestions it could be willing to give up its nuclear weapons.

But Seoul has warned reaching an agreement on this will be “difficult”, because North Korea’s nuclear and missile technology has advanced so much since the sides last held talks.

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The landmark summit is a breakthrough after years of mounting tension on the peninsula. It is the result of months of improving relations between the two Koreas and paves the way to a possible meeting between Mr Kim and US President Donald Trump.

As well as addressing Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions, the leaders are expected to discuss a path to peace on the peninsula to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War, as well as a series of economic and social issues.

How the summit will unfold

Mr Moon will personally meet Mr Kim at the border, South Korea’s presidential spokesperson Im Jong-seok told reporters on Thursday.

South Korean honour guards will then escort the leaders to a welcome ceremony at a plaza in Panmunjom, a military compound in the demilitarised zone (DMZ) between the two countries.

Official talks between Mr Moon and Mr Kim will begin at 10:30 local time (01:30 GMT) at the Peace House in Panmunjom.

The pair will break after the first session and will have lunch separately, with the delegation from the North crossing back to their side of the border.

At an afternoon ceremony, Mr Moon and Mr Kim will plant a pine tree using soil and water from both countries, to symbolise “peace and prosperity”.

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Following the tree planting, they will walk together in Panmunjom before starting the next round of talks.

The summit will conclude with the leaders signing an agreement and delivering a joint statement.

A banquet will be held on the South side, and they will watch a video called “Spring of One,” before Mr Kim returns home.

Who will attend

Mr Kim will be accompanied by nine officials, including his sister, Kim Yo-jong, who led the North’s delegation to the Winter Olympics in South Korea earlier this year. Kim Yong-nam, North Korea’s nominal head of state, will also attend.

South Korea’s delegation will be made up of seven officials, including the ministers for defence, foreign affairs and unification.

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