North and South Korea set date next month for historic meeting

North & South Korea set April 27 as date for leaders' summit in breakthrough move

By tying a trade deal with South Korea to progress in denuclearizing North Korea, Mr. Trump is showing how little direct leverage Washington has over the isolated, nuclear-armed North just as South Korea and the United States prepare for talks with Kim Jong-un, the North's leader.

The announcement came Thursday after high-level talks between the two sides in Panmunjom. The meeting led to family reunions until ties soured under conservative President Lee Myung-bak. The two previous ones were held in Pyongyang in 2000 and 2007. "If there's a need, we made a decision to continue discussions on the summit agenda through follow-up high-level meetings in April", Cho said.

The officials delivered a letter from Moon and Kim issued orders for "practical steps" to be taken, KCNA said without giving details. The Koreas plan to hold another preparatory meeting Wednesday to discuss security, protocol and media coverage matters, according to a statement released by the countries. He arrived at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, and stayed for an unofficial four-day visit.

Kim agreed early this month to a meeting with Moon, part of a flurry of diplomacy regarding North Korea's nuclear program that began with the North's participation last month in the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Both nations also combined their hockey teams, and Pyongyang even sent its cheerleaders to support the joint team.

As it turned out, South Korea was celebrating too early.

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono told parliament that his nation would consider holding talks with North Korea in the context of the other summits taking place. North Korea also wants Beijing to resist tougher sanctions if the talks with Washington and Seoul fall apart and the North resumes testing missiles. It is even worse when we remember that this is the ally that has gone out of its way to do the diplomatic work that the USA could not or would not do. All parties are expected to discuss the denuclearization of North Korea.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to a crowd gathered at the Local 18 Richfield Facility of the Operating Engineers Apprentice and Training, a union and apprentice training center specializing in the fix and operation of heavy equipment on March 29, 2018 in Richfield, Ohio.

Kim Hyun-chong, South Korea's trade minister, holds a press briefing after negotiations conclude on the U.S. On Thursday, however, President Trump said he may hold up the agreement until a deal is reached with North Korea.

Mr Trump wrote on Twitter he had received a message from Mr Xi on Tuesday night that his meeting with Mr Kim "went very well" and that Mr Kim looked forward to meeting the U.S. president.

The North's diplomatic outreach comes after an unusually provocative year in which it conducted its most powerful nuclear test to date and test-launched three intercontinental ballistic missiles created to target the USA mainland. The Sino-Russian proposal, firmly rejected by the United States, seeks a simultaneous suspension of both nuclear tests by the North and the large-scale Seoul-Washington drills.

A photo of the North Korean leader posing with five members of the South Korean delegation was splashed across the front page of the Rodong Shinmun, the official newspaper of the ruling Workers' Party.

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