After Xi-Kim talks, South Korea sets up date with North Korea in April
Soon after China embraced North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, it is time for South Korea to play its role. On Thursday, March 29, leaders of the two neighbours who are technically still at war set a date for a summit in April at the border truce village of Panjmunjom.
The development came just a few days after Kim made his first international trip to China, Pyongyang's regional ally that left many surprised. For experts, it was a move made by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Kim to score a diplomatic brownie point over the United States ahead of the proposed talks between President Donald Trump and Kim in May.
A joint press statement read out by leaders of both North and South Korea on Thursday said the 2018 South-North summit would be held on April 27.
The meeting between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in will be only the third of its kind and the venue would make Kim the first North Korean leader to visit the South since the Korean War of the early 1950s. North Korea though has claimed that Kim's grandfather Kim Il Sung had gone to Seoul several times during the conflict in the volatile peninsula. The first and second Korean summits were held in 2000 and 20007, respectively.
The two sides are expected to meet next Wednesday to discuss issues like security and protocol related to the summit.
Thursday's meeting was held in the northern side of the same truce village of Panmunjom.
North Korea has earned the brickbats for its rapid nuclear programmes that brought it in conflict with the West and differences with old ally China. However, a period of rapprochement started during the Winter Olympics held in South Korea and things changed for the better with officials from both Koreas visiting each other.