Seoul: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is set to cross his country’s heavily militarised border with South Korea on Friday for the first intra-Korea summit in more than a decade, as the old foes seek to end their decades-long conflict and ease tensions over the North’s nuclear weapons programme.
The summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in will set the stage for Kim to meet with US.President Donald Trump in late May or early June, in what will be an unprecedented first encounter between sitting leaders of the two countries.
Just months ago, Trump and Kim were trading threats and insults as North Korea’s rapid advances in pursuit of nuclear-armed missiles capable of hitting the United States raised fears of a fresh conflict on the Korean peninsula.
South Korea’s Moon will personally greet Kim at the military demarcation line at 9:30 a.m. (0030 GMT), making Kim the first North Korean leader to set foot in the South since the 1950-53 Korean War.
The two will be escorted by South Korean honour guards to an official welcoming ceremony before beginning official dialogue at 10:30 a.m. (0130 GMT) at Peace House, a South Korean building inside the border truce village of Panmunjom.
In a dramatic gesture just days before the summit, Kim announced North Korea would suspend nuclear and long-range missile tests and dismantle its only known nuclear test site.