Inter-Korean Summit to be Held April 27
The two Koreas agreed during high-level talks at the border village of Panmunjeom on Thursday to hold the inter-Korean summit on April 27th.
The announcement was made in a joint press statement following the meeting.
It will mark the third ever inter-Korean summit and the first in eleven years after summit talks of 2000 and 2007.
The two sides also agreed to hold working-level talks on Wednesday to discuss issues of protocol, security and media coverage, and will continue consultation on other matters through the exchange of documents.
Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon told reporters after the Thursday meeting with the North that the summit’s agenda will include issues of denuclearization, establishing peace on the Korean Peninsula and advancing bilateral relations.
He said the two Koreas sufficiently exchanged views about the summit agenda and that more high-level talks can be held if necessary to discuss the agenda.
North Korea’s chief delegate to the Thursday meeting was Ri Son-gwon, chairman of the North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland.
The summit date has been set after the two Koreas agreed to hold a summit at the end of April when South Korean presidential envoys visited the North earlier this month.
The remaining task is how to achieve tangible accomplishments through the summit meeting.
Gathering from the joint statement and Minister Cho’s remarks, the two Koreas have discussed the summit’s agenda but do not appear to have reached a solid agreement.
Seoul does not intend to put restrictions on the agenda but nonetheless, denuclearization will be the key concern. In more detail, discussions will focus on the stages and method of denuclearization and related compensation. The other issues of establishing peace and advancing cross-border relations hinge on denuclearization.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un underlined his commitment to denuclearization during talks with Chinese President Xi Jingping in Beijing, but as a condition, he called for “step-by-step, simultaneous measures” by South Korea and the U.S.
This can be viewed as the same tactic Pyongyang used in the past of linking compensation to progressive denuclearization.
Meanwhile in the U.S., applying the Libyan example to North Korea has been floated.
In 2003, Libya agreed to destroy all of its chemical, nuclear and biological weapons stockpiles in exchange for normalizing ties with the U.S. and Europe and the easing of economic sanctions.
Washington’s newly appointed national security adviser John Bolton has referred to the Libyan model as a means to denuclearize Pyongyang.
However Seoul’s presidential office has expressed a pessimistic view over a package deal, saying it would be realistic to take a step-by-step approach in due order.