North, South Korea to hold first summit in years on April 27

Key Points
  • North, South Korea to hold first summit in more than a decade
  • Koreas to hold working talks April 4 before April 27 summit
  • Announcement comes after N.Korean leader's visit to China
In this handout image provided by the South Korean Presidential Blue House, Chung Eui-Yong (R), head of the presidential National Security Office shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (L) during their meeting on March 5, 2018 in Pyongyang, North Korea.
South Korean Presidential Blue House | Getty Images

North and South Korea will hold their first summit in more than a decade on April 27, South Korean officials said on Thursday, after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pledged his commitment to denuclearization as tensions ease between the old foes.

South Korean government officials announced the date of the summit after holding high-level talks with their North Korean counterparts on Thursday.

The two Koreas had agreed earlier this month to hold such a summit at the border truce village of Panmunjom when South Korean President Moon Jae-in sent a delegation to Pyongyang to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Thursday's talks were the first between the two Koreas since the delegation returned from the North.

A South Korean unification ministry official told reporters the two Koreas would hold a working-level meeting on April 4 to discuss details for the summit, such as staffing support, security and news releases.

North and South Korea have experienced a significant easing in tensions since the Winter Olympics in the South in February. The are technically still at war after the 1950-53 conflict ended with a ceasefire, not a truce.

Kim is also scheduled to meet U.S. President Donald Trump some time in May to discuss denuclearization, although a time and place have not been set for that summit.

Kim met Chinese President Xi Jinping in a surprise visit to Beijing this week, his first trip outside the isolated North since he came to power in 2011.

Even more surprising was Kim's pledge to denuclearize the Korean summit. That commitment was reported by Chinese state media, although North Korea's official media made no mention of it, or Kim's anticipated meeting with Trump.

Trump and Kim had exchanged threats and insults in recent months. The U.S. leader made the equally surprising announcement earlier this month that he was prepared to meet Kim to discuss the crisis over Pyongyang's development of nuclear weapons capable of hitting the Unite States.

The North Korean leader's engagement with the international community has sparked speculation that he may try to meet other leaders. Japan's Asahi newspaper said on Thursday Japan had sounded out the North Korean government about a bilateral summit.

Chinese President Xi Jinping promised Beijing would uphold its friendship with North Korea after his meeting with Kim.

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