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Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in meet for North South Korea summit

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meets South Korean President Moon Jae-in for a historic summit. The purpose of this North South Korea summit is for improving inter-Korean relations and achieving peace

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North South Korea Summit

AFP/PTI  |  Seoul 

Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong Un
Photo: @ANIDigital (Twitter)

Kim Jong Un becomes the first North Korean leader to cross the military line into South Korea since the end of the Korean War. The leaders of North and South Korea set off on Friday towards the Demilitarised Zone that divides their countries for a historic summit, the highest-level encounter yet in a recent whirlwind of nuclear diplomacy. 

The meeting on the southern side of the truce village of Panmunjom - only the third of its kind since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War -- is intended to pave the way for a much-anticipated encounter between the North's leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump.

In the most detailed direct reference to the process by the North so far, the official KCNA news agency said Kim will "open-heartedly discuss... all the issues arising in improving inter-Korean relations and achieving peace, prosperity and reunification of the Korean peninsula".

With helicopters buzzing overhead, South Korean President Moon Jae-in left his Blue House office in a convoy of more than a dozen vehicles along a road lined with well-wishers waving Korean flags. Before his departure, a smiling Moon stopped to greet supporters and thank police officers.

Moon will greet Kim at the concrete blocks that mark the border between the two Koreas in the Demilitarised Zone to begin the rare occasion laden with symbolism.

And when Kim steps over the line he will become the first North Korean leader to set foot in the South since the Korean War ended 65 years ago. Kim Jong Un's decision to cross into world's most heavily armed bordered zones is a prospect that seemed unthinkable just a few months ago. 

The North's nuclear arsenal will be high on the agenda at the talks. Last year Pyongyang carried out its sixth nuclear blast, by far its most powerful to date, and launched missiles capable of reaching the US mainland. Its actions sent tensions soaring as Kim and Trump traded personal insults and threats of war.

Moon seized on the South's Winter Olympics as an opportunity to broker dialogue between them and has said his meeting with Kim will serve to set up the summit between Pyongyang and Washington.

Trump has demanded the North give up its weapons, and Washington is pressing for it to do so in a complete, verifiable and irreversible way.

First Published: Fri, April 27 2018. 06:59 IST
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