Is end of 68-year war between North & South Korea near?
Things are looking brighter in the volatile Korean Peninsula. North and South Korea, who are technically at war since 1950, are in talks to make a pleasing announcement at the summit next week where their top leaders would meet each other - to put a permanent end to the state of war which is going on between them since 1950, said reports.
North Korea's supreme leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in might release a joint statement during their meeting on April 27 seeking an end to their military conflict, a report in Munhwa Ibo newspaper said, citing a South Korean official, Bloomberg reported.
The two leaders will meet in the border village of Panmunjom, the third ever summit featuring leaders from the two hostile neighbours.
The two Koreas have been in a state of war since the 1950-53 Korean conflict which ended with the signing of a truce. There have been period skirmishes between the two countries since then but never an all-out war again.
The significance of this summit is all the more since it is coming after Kim's surprise visit to China to meet President Xi Jinping and ahead of the proposed talks between US President Donald Trump and Kim in May or June. It would be the first-ever in history that an American president would meet a leader from North Korea.
Trump on Tuesday, April 17, welcomed the Korean talks and blessed it saying they created a great chance to resolve the Korean crisis. Trump himself is amid talks with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe at the moment.
Trump also said that "very high levels" of talks were already underway between the US and North Korea, something which was reiterated officially by the White House later.
Sources in Seoul said on Tuesday that South Korean security officials could reach Pyongyang ahead of the high-profile summit, Reuters reported.
Also, a direct phone line could be established between Pyongyang and Seoul in a couple of days, the South Korean president's chief of staff Im Jong-seok said in a briefing on Tuesday, the Bloomberg report added.
No peace treaty was ever signed to replace the 1953 armistice between the two Koreas and the US and North Korea - who were at loggerheads during the war - have continued to be hostile towards each other.
The situation has seen more deterioration in the recent years with North Korea strongly pursuing nuclear ambitions, intensifying its rivalry with Washington and its regional allies more.