South Korean officials announced Thursday that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had agreed to meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on April 27th.
The meeting, which will take place south of the 38th parallel, marks the first time a North Korean president has entered South Korea since the two countries split in 1945.
News of the meeting comes one day after Kim returned from a surprise visit to Beijing, during which he made a commitment to the denuclearization of the peninsula, expressed a desire to improve relations with China, and told President Xi Jinping he was looking forward to his upcoming meeting with President Trump.
The summit, which will be the first of its kind since 2007, comes as the US and other countries continue to enforce crippling sanctions on North Korea for its missile tests. While the summit agenda has not been finalized, South Korean negotiator Cho Myoung-gyon said that “denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” will definitely be discussed during the meeting.
“There was a sufficient exchange of opinions between the two sides, but we also agreed we needed more time to better coordinate the specific terms of the agenda,” said Cho, referring to negotiations that took place Thursday.
Beijing celebrated news of the summit date and urged the US to support inter-Korean talks. This meeting is “what China wants and what we have been working for,” said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang. “We hope that such momentum can be sustained and peace can prevail.”
Japan is also considering a meeting with North Korea in the context of the other summits taking place.
The April 27th summit could mark a turning point in what has been a decades-long struggle to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula and halt the North’s dangerous nuclear program. The results of Kim’s meeting with Moon, and of his future talks with Trump, could make the world a safer place.
The past few months have been filled with “unprecedented historic events between the rivals,” said North Korean diplomat Ri Son Gwon. Much of the credit for these “historic events” goes to Trump, who through tough sanctions and tougher words has made more progress with North Korea than any president before him.
“For years and through many administrations, everyone said that peace and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula was not even a small possibility,” tweeted Trump Wednesday. “Now there is a good chance that Kim Jon-un will do what is right for his people and for humanity.”
Editor’s note: This is the first opportunity for everything to fall apart, so everyone is being super cautious.