He will be among a 13-member official entourage that also includes the ministers for finance and economy, agriculture and forestry, health and welfare, the chief presidential security adviser and the head of the spy agency.

Timeline: The two Koreas


1945 - Korean peninsula divided following Japanese surrender ending World War II

1948 - Two separate governments formed in North and South

1950 - North Korean army launches surprise attack aross border into South, igniting Korean War

1953 - Korean War ends in uneasy truce overseen by the United Nations

1971 - North and South hold first formal talks since end of war

1997 - Kim Dae-jung elected president of South Korea, pledges 'sunshine policy' of engagement with North

2000 - First and only summit between leaders of North and South. First family reunions held soon after

2003 - South Korea begins construction of Kaesong industrial park inside North Korea

2007 - First trains since start of Korean War run between North and South

The two Koreas held their first-ever summit in 2000 in Pyongyang between Kim Dae-jung, the then South Korean president, and the North's Kim Jong-il.

 

The North's defence minister came to the South later that year for what to date has been the first and only meeting with his South Korean counterpart.

 

Officials in Seoul gave no explanation to as why the defence minister was included in the entourage this time, only saying the delegation was formed to best support the president.

 

Kim's inclusion raised speculation that the two sides may discuss the North's demand that their disputed western sea border be redrawn.

North Korea does not recognize the current border, known as the Northern Limit Line, which was drawn unilaterally by the United Nations at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.

 

The war ended in a truce, rather than a formal peace treaty, which means the two sides remain technically at war.