Japan mum on prospects for summit with N. Korea

Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon, South Korea's chief delegate for high-level talks and his North Korean counterpart Ri Son-gwon enter a conference room at the Tongilgak building on the northern side of the border village of Panmunjom on Mar

The two countries will hold the first inter-Korean summit since 2007 on April 27, South Korean government officials announced after holding high-level talks with their North Korean counterparts. "We expect the upcoming inter-Korean and U.S".

Kim pledged that he was "committed to denuclearization" on the Korean peninsula, according to China's Xinhua news agency-but added this would depend on South Korea and the USA taking what he called "progressive and synchronous measures for the realization of peace".

When meeting with China's Xi Jinping, Kim showed confidence in the future of North-South relations saying that "the situation in the Korean peninsula is off to better tides", adding that "following the legacy of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jeong-il to concentrate on denuclearization of the Peninsula has not changed in our part".

The agreement will also cap South Korean steel exports at 70 percent of what the country now exports to the United States in an average year and will impose a 10 percent tariff on aluminum exports from South Korea to the US.

Kim is also scheduled to meet U.S. President Donald Trump sometime in May to discuss denuclearization, although a time and place have not been set for that summit. The three-day meeting in June, which began with a broadly smiling Kim Jong Il tightly grabbing the hands of Kim Dae-jung at the Pyongyang airport, led to an agreement between the Koreas on joint economic projects, which have since stalled. That commitment was reported by Chinese state media, although North Korea's official media made no mention of it, or Mr Kim's anticipated meeting with Mr Trump. Suga declined to say if a meeting between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is being discussed.

"We're moving along very nicely with North Korea".

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It has been subjected to multiple rounds of sanctions by the UN Security Council, US, South and others as a result, and tensions in the region have soared, with Kim and Trump engaging in a fiery war of words a year ago. The talks will precede musical performances in Pyongyang in early April by a group of South Korean singers. Yang Jiechi, Xi's special representative, was in Seoul on Thursday to brief the South Korean government on the visit. Moon's spokesman, Kim Eui-kyeom, said in a statement that Seoul welcomes the meeting between Kim and Trump and called it an encouraging sign that Kim expressed a firm willingness to engage in dialogue with South Korea and the United States during his visit to Beijing.

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

The talks follow the summit earlier this week between Kim and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing.

Washington and Seoul have said Kim previously told South Korean envoys that he was willing to put his nuclear weapons up for negotiation in his talks with Trump. Kono said in an interview with Reuters on Tuesday that Japan was closely watching preparations for the North-South Korean summit and the Trump-Kim meeting. However, the North has yet to officially confirm its interest in a summit between Kim and Trump.

No date has been set, but Trump said he was willing to meet Kim by May.

The fast-thawing relations between the two countries, just months after the North Korean leader boasted of having a nuclear button on his desk, started in January when cross-border talks took place ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics.

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