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[Breaking] Koreas to hold summit in late April

NK leader Kim Jong-un says willing to discuss denuclearization with US

The two Koreas will hold a summit at the border village of Panmunjeom at the end of April, and North Korea is willing to engage the US, National Security Office chief Chung Eui-yong revealed Tuesday.

The summit will be held at the Peace House, which is located on South Korean side of Panmunjeom.

Chung, who led the five-member special envoy delegation to the North, said the two Koreas came to the conclusion during his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Monday. 
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (right) greets Chung Eui-yong, chief of South Korea's National Security Office, in Pyongyang on Monday. (Cheong Wa Dae)
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (right) greets Chung Eui-yong, chief of South Korea's National Security Office, in Pyongyang on Monday. (Cheong Wa Dae)

Upon his return to the South, Chung briefed President Moon Jae-in, who assessed the results to be positive, and revealed the five-point agreement reached on the previous day.

The agreement, which the North’s media described as “satisfactory,” focuses on easing tensions and denuclearization.

The special envoy’s press statement also stated that the North “clearly stated the will to denuclearize,” and that the regime considers nuclear weapons unnecessary provided that its safety is guaranteed.

“The North Korean side expressed that they have the intention to talk frankly with the US in order to discuss the issue of denuclearization and to normalize North Korea-US relations,” Chung said.

Under the agreement, North Korea will also cease nuclear and missile tests while the two sides are engaged in talks, and establish a hotline for communication between the two sides’ leaders.

Chung said that Kim made no particular demands on behalf of Pyongyang, and that the North Korean leader “was of the understanding that joint South Korea-US drills would be resumed on a scale similar to past years.”

On the issue of Kim’s statements on denuclearization, Chung declined to elaborate, saying only that the North Korean leader said denuclearization of the peninsula was “the dying wish of our forebears” and that that desire remains unchanged.

“North had no particular demands from us or other countries. (Kim) expressed his wishes to be considered as a serious partner in dialogue,” Chung said.

Regarding whether the agreed conditions would be sufficient for the US to engage Pyongyang, Chung said that he considered the situation to be sufficient for US-North Korea talks.

Chung also said that he and Suh Hoon, the National Intelligence Service director who accompanied him to the North, will visit the US this week to explain the results of the meeting.

In announcing the plans to send the special envoys, Cheong Wa Dae stated that the US will be filled in on the trip, and that China and Japan will also be informed about the developments.

“The government deems that the special envoys’ visit was an important turning point in establishing peace and improving inter-Korean relations, and working-level negotiations will begin,” Chung said, adding that he head to Russia and China after the US trip, and Suh to Japan for the same purpose.

“(Through the visits to the countries) we will seek a stable improvement in inter-Korean relations based on international society’s support.”

By Choi He-suk (