Leaders of North and South Korea have agreed to meet on September 18 to discuss “practical measures” towards denuclearisation.
Kim Jong un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in will meet in the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, as the North Korean leader reaffirmed his commitment towards the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.
The summit – a third between the two leaders this year – will take place from September 18 to 20 and the dates were decided on Wednesday during a visit by South’s national security adviser, Chung Eui-yong, to Pyongyang, where he met Kim and handed over a personal letter from Moon.
The North Korean leader said it was his country’s “fixed stand and his will to completely remove the danger of armed conflict and horror of war from the Korean Peninsula and turn it into a cradle of peace without nuclear weapons and free from nuclear threat”, North’s state news agency KCNA reported.
Al Jazeera’s Rob McBride, reporting from the South Korean capital Seoul, said meetings will take place next week to “lay the groundwork for this upcoming summit”.
“A liason office between the North and South will also be established,” he said.
“This was meant to be set up in August but delayed because of the troubled negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington.”
The visit by the South Korean delegation to Pyongyang came amid a deadlock on the North’s nuclear weapons programme, with US efforts to dismantle the arsenal stalled for weeks.
In a landmark summit in Singapore in June, US President Donald Trump and Kim vowed to work towards the “complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula”, but their agreement was short on details on what that meant and how it would be achieved.
Frustrated with the lack of progress, Trump last month cancelled Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s trip to Pyongyang after the North reportedly sent a belligerent letter to the US president.
But despite the difficulties, Kim told the South Korean officials that his faith in Trump remains “unchanged” and he wanted to denuclearise and end long-standing hostile relations between North Korea and the United States during Trump’s first term ending early 2021, Chung said.
Kim’s remarks to South Korean officials mark the first time that the North Korean leader has offered a potential timeline for dismantling his country’s nuclear weapons programme.
“Chairman Kim asked us to convey the message to the US that the US [should] help create situations where he would feel his decision to denuclearise was a right move”, the South Korean official added.
North and South Korea remain technically at war as the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a ceasefire.