North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in will meet for the first time on April 27, the two countries announced on Thursday as diplomatic efforts continue to resolve the nuclear crisis.
The date was agreed to during a meeting of senior officials from both countries on the northern side of the Panmunjom truce village. A second meeting will take place on Wednesday to discuss issues such as protocol, security, and press access.
The historic meeting on April 27 will take place at the Peace House on the southern side of the Panmunjom truce village. It will be the first meeting between North and South Korean leaders since 2007, when leaders from both countries met in the North Korean capital.
A spokesman for South Korea’s presidency said it would do everything it could to prepare for the meeting. “It is our hope that all people will become one so the summit can become a groundbreaking opportunity to establish peace on the Korean Peninsula,” he said, as quoted by the Yonhap news agency.
A series of diplomatic encounters between North and South Korea has allowed for an ease in tensions on the Korean Peninsula. The Kim-Moon summit follows Kim Jon Un’s surprise meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier this week and comes ahead of a May meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump.
Tensions on the Korean Peninsula had been high throughout much of 2017, fueled by North Korea’s frequent missile tests and its advancing nuclear weapons program, as well as U.S. military exercises and threatening statements by President Donald Trump.
A South Korean delegation visited Pyongyang earlier this month and met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, making them the first officials from the South to ever meet with Kim in person. During this meeting, Kim agreed to meet with Moon towards the end of April.
After the meeting, the South Korean delegation traveled to the United States, where they informed Trump that the North Korean leader had committed to denuclearization, pledged to refrain from further nuclear or missile tests, and expressed his eagerness to meet with Trump as soon as possible.
Trump has agreed to meet with Kim by May in an attempt to reach a deal in which North Korea agrees to permanent denuclearization. “There is a good chance that Kim Jong Un will do what is right for his people and for humanity,” Trump said on Twitter on March 28.
But despite the diplomatic efforts, North Korea has publicly insisted that its nuclear weapons program is not up for discussion under any circumstance, and it has not publicly announced the planned meeting with Trump. Citizens in North Korea do not have access to outside information.