North Korea & South Korea Set Date For Historic Leaders Summit

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Ri Son Gwon, chairman of Pyongyang's "Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country" led the North Korean delegation while Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon represented Seoul.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will meet with the South Korean president on April 27.

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".

South Korea has also said that its northern neighbor is ready for "denuclearization", the likely subject of both the April 27 and Trump meetings, though North Korea has previously pegged any such move to the removal of American troops from the South.

South Korean presidential spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom told reporters Thursday: "I expect that the upcoming South-North summit and the USA summit will leave a foundation for a permanent denuclearization and a peace regime on the Korean peninsula".

Al Jazeera's Kathy Novak, reporting from Seoul, said the announcement is "really quite a win-win situation for the South Korean president".

He said however that sanctions on North Korea would continue.

Greeting the South Korean officials at the North Korean-controlled Tongilgak building, Ri said the past 80 days have been filled with "unprecedented historic events" between the rivals, referring to the resumption of dialogue between the Koreas before the Winter Olympics in the South and the agreement to hold a summit.

Suga declined to say if a meeting between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is being discussed.

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

Thursday's talks came after Kim made a surprise visit to China this week for his first summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping ahead of his meetings with Moon and US President Donald Trump in May.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the Xi-Kim dialogue was a "good indication that the maximum pressure campaign has been working", because for the first time since Kim rose to power, he left the country to meet the head of a foreign government.

"The issue of denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula can be resolved if South Korea and the United States respond to our efforts with goodwill, create an atmosphere of peace and stability, while taking progressive and synchronous measures for the realisation of peace".

File image of Kim Jong-un.

The Asahi said in an article from Seoul Kim's government had discussed the possibility of summits with South Korea, the United States, China, Japan and Russian Federation, in that order.

Trump welcomed the meeting between Kim and Xi, while calling for continued pressure against the isolated regime.

Senior U.S. officials have expressed concerns privately that South Korea is the weak link in the U.S. alliance between South Korea and Japan and could be too quick to seal a deal with North Korea.

However, a period of rapprochement started during the Winter Olympics held in South Korea and things changed for the better with officials from both Koreas visiting each other.

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