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South and North Korean leaders to meet on April 27

By Jennie Oh
South and North Korean leaders to meet on April 27
South Korea's Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon (R) and Ri Son-gwon (L), chief of North Korean agency in charge of affairs with the South, walk into a meeting room for high-level talks at the truce village of Panmunjom, 29 March 2018. The two sides agreed to hold an inter-Korean summit on 27 April. Photo by Yonhap.

SEOUL, March 29 (UPI) -- South and North Korea will hold a summit on April 27 at the southern side of the Panmunjom truce village.

Seoul and Pyongyang officials agreed on the date of the cross-border summit on Thursday, during a high-level meeting, which took place at the North's Tongilgak building in Panmunjom.

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In a briefing following the meeting, Seoul's Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon told reporters that the two Koreas had "sufficiently" exchanged views on the agenda of the summit, adding that more high-level talks can be held to discuss the agenda if necessary.

North Korea's chief delegate Ri Son-gwon said the agenda would include all issues concerning the two countries' relations, Maeil Business Daily reported.

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Officials also decided to hold working-level talks next Wednesday to discuss protocol, security measures and media coverage for the summit, Yonhap reported.

"The South and North will make joint efforts to hold a successful summit based on common understanding on the historical significance it will have on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the establishment of peace and advancing inter-Korean ties," said Cho.

South Korea's presidential office welcomed the developments, pledging utmost efforts to prepare for the summit.

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The meeting between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will mark the third inter-Korean summit to date and the first in eleven years.

Kim suggested holding the talks in late April, in a meeting with Moon's envoys who visited Pyongyang earlier this month.

The North Korean leader also conveyed his commitment to denuclearization and proposed a summit with U.S. President Donald Trump, which Trump accepted.

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The back-to-back summits are widely anticipated to provide a stepping stone for the North's denuclearization and the establishment of peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Relations between the two Koreas have considerably thawed after Kim conveyed a peace overture to Seoul in his New Year's address this year, after which North Korean athletes took part in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games hosted in the South.

The two Koreas are still technically in a state of war after the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice agreement in Panmunjom which established the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) and the demilitarized zone (DMZ).

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On Thursday, Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon led the South Korean delegation for the high-level talks which began at 10 a.m.

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The three-member team also included Vice Unification Minister Chun Hae-sung and presidential press secretary Yoon Young-chan.

North Korea was represented by Ri Son-gwon, chairman of North Korea's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland; Jon Jong Su, North Korea's chief delegate during talks in January; and Kim Myong Il, vice chairman of reunification committee.

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