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Asia Koreas agree to peaceful discussion in April

THE KOREAS have agreed to hold a landmark set of talks next month, with the leaders of the two countries meeting in a former village on the border.

President Moon Jae In of the south and Kim Jong Un of the north will meet in late April in Panmunjom, where the Korean war armistice agreement was signed in 1953, said South Korean security chief Chung Eui Yong.

Mr Chung went to Pyongyang with a South Korean delegation this week for official talks following the successful co-operation during the recent Winter Olympics in the south.

The leaders’ summit would be only the third such meeting. The previous two, in 2000 and 2007, led to co-operative projects later scuttled by more right-wing South Korean governments.

Mr Chung said Mr Moon and Mr Kim would talk before meeting and would establish a “hotline” to lower tensions.

The co-operation between the two Koreas stands in stark contrast to the bellicose rhetoric of the United States and its ally Japan.

US President Donald Trump has threatened to use force against North Korea if it does not follow his country’s instructions regarding its nuclear programme.

Mr Chung said North Korea had expressed willingness to hold a “candid dialogue” with the US to discuss nuclear disarmament and establish diplomatic relations.

North Korea also said it would not need to keep its nuclear weapons if military threats against it are removed and it receives a credible security guarantee, Mr Chung said.

US-led forces devastated North Korea in the 1950-53 war, destroying nearly all of its towns and cities. Its nuclear weapons have been developed in the context of continuing US threats of force.

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