Koreas fix date and place for historic summit

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Officials planned the date and agenda of the summit between South Korea's President Moon Jae-in and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un as global pressure mounts to end nuclear tensions on the peninsula.

As the two Koreas remain technically at war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a cease-fire, their leaders have held formal talks only twice, in 2000 and 2007.

"This issue of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula can be resolved, if South Korea and the USA respond to our efforts with goodwill, create an atmosphere of peace and stability while taking progressive and synchronous measures for the realization of peace", said Kim during his summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing earlier this week, according to Xinhua, China's state news agency.

According to South Korean officials, the meeting is set for April 27th at a border village. The officials are expected to meet again on April 4 to discuss the preparations for the event. Kim pledged that he was "committed to denuclearisation" on the Korean peninsula, according to China's Xinhua news agency: But added this would depend on South Korea and the U.S. taking what he called "progressive and synchronous measures for the realisation of peace".

The rapid rapprochement was kicked off by the Winter Olympics in the South and comes after a year of heightened tensions over the North's nuclear and missile programmes, which saw Kim and US President Donald Trump engaged in a war of words. North Korea over the past two decades has been repeatedly accused of using disarmament talks as a way to ease outside pressure and win badly needed aid, while continuing to secretly push ahead with weapons development. The Asahi newspaper said earlier that Kim Jong Un's administration was seeking a summit with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

However, the North has yet to officially confirm its interest in a summit between the leaders.

The president did conclude the riff by thanking South Korea for their help in the talks.

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Both sides also agreed to hold another working-level talk early next week to discuss further details.

But tension has eased significantly since North Korea made a decision to send athletes to the Winter Olympics in South Korea in February.

Washington and Seoul have said Kim previously told South Korean envoys that he was willing to put his nuclear weapons up for negotiation in his talks with Trump.

Trump has also threatened military action to prevent Kim from obtaining the ability to achieve its stated goal of being capable of striking the continental US with a nuclear weapon. Most North Korean analysts are hawkish about the possibilities of Pyongyang giving up the arsenal it spent so much time, money and efforts to build.

It was Kim's first known trip outside North Korea since he became leader in 2011.

Separately, Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi met South Korean National Security Adviser Chung Eui-yong on Thursday to discuss the recent North Korean-Chinese summit in Beijing. Thursday's talks were held to determine the date and other issues.