Kim Jong-un to meet Moon Jae-in at Korean border for summit
Thursday - 26/04/2018 09:41
Kim Jong-un is set to become the first North Korean leader to cross into South Korean territory since the end of the Korean War in 1953, as final details are put in place for the summit.
South Korea said President Moon Jae-in would personally meet Mr Kim at the border at 09:30 (00:30 GMT) on Friday.
The historic summit will focus on the North's recent indications it could be willing to give up its nuclear weapons.
Talks are also proposed between Mr Kim and US President Trump by early June.
Mr Kim is set to cross the military demarcation line - a clearly defined marker of the official land border between the territories. He will, however, remain within the Demilitarised Zone.
Seoul has warned reaching an agreement aimed at ridding Pyongyang of its nuclear weapons will be "difficult", because North Korea's nuclear and missile technology has advanced so much since the sides' leaders last met more than a decade ago.
"The difficult part is at what level the two leaders will be able to reach an agreement regarding willingness to denuclearise," South Korean presidential spokesperson Im Jong-seok said.
The meeting - the third of its kind following summits in 2000 and 2007 - is the result of months of improving relations between the two Koreas, and paves the way for a planned meeting between Mr Kim and US President Donald Trump.
As well as addressing Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions, the leaders are expected to discuss a path to peace on the peninsula to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War, and a series of economic and social issues.
South Korea and the US say they are suspending annual military drills for a day while the summit takes place.
How the summit will unfold
Every detail of the summit has been precisely planned - from the timetable to the dinner menu.
Mr Moon will meet Mr Kim and his delegation of nine officials at the concrete blocks which mark the demarcation line on the border, Mr Im told reporters on Thursday.
Following the tree planting, they will walk together before starting the next round of talks. The summit will conclude with the leaders signing an agreement and delivering a joint statement before dinner.
The banquet will be held on the South side - and a carefully planned menu has already been announced.
One detail, however, may have been overlooked - or may have been a deliberate move.
Japan objected to the choice of dessert because of the inclusion on the mango mousse being served of disputed islands on a map of the Korean peninsula. Japan, North Korea and South Korea all claim the islands.
After dinner, the delegations will watch a video called "Spring of One", before Mr Kim returns home.
"I feel North Korea is sending their key military officials to the summit as they too, believe denuclearisation and peace are important," he said.
"North Korea appears to take into account not only the inter-Korean summit but also the subsequent North-US summit and efforts for international co-operation."
South Korea will send seven officials along with President Moon, including the ministers for defence, foreign affairs and unification. The chairman of South Korea's joint chiefs of staff was a late addition to his entourage.
The path to the summit
The summit is the high point after months of improving relations between the two countries, which few would have predicted following years of rising tension.
Mr Kim's new appetite for diplomacy led to a meeting with senior South Korean officials in March - the first time officials from Seoul had met the young leader since he came to power in 2011 - to map out details for a meeting with Mr Moon.
Ahead of the summit, North Korean media praised Mr Kim for his work in the talks.
"It is a historic event for national history made possible by our brisk efforts for dialogue and peace," The Rodong Sinmun, official newspaper of the ruling Workers' Party, said in an editorial.
"Improving North-South relations is a necessary requirement for the achievement of homeland unification," it said.