Rival Korean leaders to meet April 27 in historic summit

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

"This issue of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula can be resolved, if South Korea and the US respond to our efforts with goodwill, create an atmosphere of peace and stability while taking progressive and synchronous measures for the realization of peace", said Kim during his summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing earlier this week, according to Xinhua, China's state news agency.

Subsequently, Kim is expected to meet U.S. President Donald Trump for what will be the first-ever summit between the two countries, though the date and venue have yet to be determined.

South Korean officials, who announced the summit date after high-level talks with North Korean counterparts, said the summit agenda would largely be the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and an improvement of inter-Korean relations.

Speculation has been building that North Korea is being forced into engagement by crippling global sanctions aimed at ending its rogue development of nuclear weapons.

The two-day trip by Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi follows talks earlier this week between Kim Jong Un and Xi Jinping.

Yang is scheduled to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Friday.

After his meeting with Mr Kim, Chinese President Xi Jinping said Beijing would uphold its friendship with North Korea.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in will lead what is only the third meeting between the heads of the two countries.

. The North's three delegates were led by Ri Son Gwon, chairman of a state agency that deals with inter-Korean affairs.

The two sides will hold another preparatory talks on April 4 to discuss various issues like protocol, security and media coverage issues.

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The Asahi said in an article from Seoul Kim's government had discussed the possibility of summits with South Korea, the United States, China, Japan and Russian Federation, in that order.

The flurry of diplomacy comes after North Korea raised tensions a year ago with a series of long-range missile launches and its sixth nuclear test, resulting in strict US -led worldwide sanctions. To prepare, the two Koreas will hold a couple of working-level talks.

Trump welcomed the meeting between Kim and Xi, while calling for continued pressure against the isolated regime.

Trump has also threatened military action to prevent Kim from obtaining the ability to achieve its stated goal of being capable of striking the continental USA with a nuclear weapon.

The confirmation of the summit is the outcome of weeks of hurried diplomacy, after a surprise thaw in relations on the Korean peninsula earlier this year. Most North Korean analysts are hawkish about the possibilities of Pyongyang giving up the arsenal it spent so much time, money and efforts to build.

Kim said on his trip to Beijing that the situation on the Korean Peninsula was starting to improve after Pyongyang took the initiative to ease tensions and proposed peace talks.

Thursday's North and South Korean delegations were both headed by the same men who engaged in the first negotiations in January, after Pyongyang agreed to reopen diplomatic communications with Seoul.

Kim reported from Seoul.

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