North and South Korean Officials Meet at Border to Discuss Summit Meeting

President Trump is threatening to hold up a trade pact with South Korea

The fast-thawing relations between the two countries, just months after the North Korean leader boasted of having a nuclear button on his desk, started in January when cross-border talks took place before the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Senior officials of the two Koreas met Thursday to prepare for a rare inter-Korean summit, days after the nuclear-armed North's leader Kim Jong Un made his worldwide debut with a surprise trip to China.

Soon after China embraced North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, it is time for South Korea to play its role.

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.

North Korean official Ri Son Gwon after the meeting hailed the agreement over the summit he said provides "immense expectations and new hope for the entire nation that desires for peace on the Korean Peninsula".

Asked by reporters whether the agenda was discussed with North Korea Thursday, Cho said both sides "thoroughly" talked over the matter, but agreed to discuss specific details later.

The upcoming inter-Korean summit will likely serve as a critical venue for discussions to resolve the nuclear programme of Pyongyang, which it said has expressed willingness to abandon the programme in exchange for peace, Yonhap news agency reported.

On Wednesday, Chinese news agency Xinhua quoted North Korean leader Kim as saying the nuclear weapons issue could be resolved if South Korea and the U.S. respond to North Korea's ongoing efforts "with goodwill". Those are: denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, building a lasting peace with lowered tensions, and finally improving inter-Korean relations.

Thursday's meeting was held in the northern side of the same truce village of Panmunjom. During this meeting, Kim agreed to meet with Moon towards the end of April.

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Mr Moon's spokesman, Kim Eui-kyeom, said Seoul welcomes the meeting between Mr Kim and Mr Trump and called it an encouraging sign that the North Korean leader expressed a firm willingness for dialogue with South Korea and the United States during his visit to Beijing.

In response, Mr Cho said officials in the preparatory talks should do their best to set up a successful summit as the "current situation was created by decisions from the highest leaders of the North and South".

The two sides, on Thursday, announced the summit, which will be the first of its kind to occur in over a decade.

During the talks, President Xi accepted an invitation from the DPRK leader to visit the North at a "convenient time". Citizens in North Korea do not have access to outside information.

As China is also anxious about military conflict on the Korean Peninsula, it has proposed a "double suspension" approach, which seeks a halt to Pyongyang's nuclear and missile activities in exchange for Washington and Seoul suspending their joint military drills.

"Now there is a good chance that Kim Jong Un will do what is right for his people and for humanity", he said. The Chinese envoy is also scheduled to meet President Moon on Friday. The meeting led to family reunions until ties soured under conservative President Lee Myung-bak.

Indeed, ties between the two Koreas have been improving since the North made a decision to join the February 9-25 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in the South.

An advance team of Southern performers headed north on Thursday ahead of K-pop concerts in Pyongyang.

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