Published: Wed, April 18, 2018

North & South Korea may announce official end to war

North & South Korea may announce official end to war

President Donald Trump said he's given South Korea his "blessing" to negotiate a peace deal with North Korea, and that five locations are under consideration for his meeting with the North's leader, Kim Jong Un. When the two leaders meet on April 27, they would theoretically have to hash out several issues, from the submarines on the peninsula's coasts to the US military presence. If they don't the summit with the North Korean leader might not happen, he added.

Kim Jong Un hobnobbed with a visiting Chinese ballet troupe as he capped a weekend of celebrations in the North Korean capital that conspicuously lacked a show of military might that marked many previous festivals.

That is expected to be followed by a meeting between Kim and Trump in late May or early June, which would mark the first meeting between sitting leaders of the two countries.

On last year's Day of the Sun, Kim put on a military parade bristling with his latest ballistic missiles, exacerbating global tension over his nuclear weapon and missile programmes.

Delegations from the North and the South have been holding meetings prior to the high-level talks to discuss a joint statement.

North Korean guards standing face-to-face at the Joint Security Area, a small strip of land in the truce village of Panmunjom

The thaw in relations began on the eve of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, when the two nations formed a joint women's ice-hockey team and agreed to march under a unified banner at the opening ceremony.

Moon has been reviewing a framework of the statement which could be called the April 27 declaration or the Panmunjom declaration, he said.

American officials are still sceptical of Kim's sudden overtures, with Trump's pick for secretary of state, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, telling lawmakers last week that North Korea should not expect rewards from talks with the United States until it takes irreversible steps to give up its nuclear weapons.

U.N. Security Council sanctions imposed since North Korea's first nuclear test in 2006 and strengthened over the past decade aim to cut North Korea off from worldwide trade.

Discussions are underway about live coverage of part of the meeting, Im said. The United States stations 28,500 troops in South Korea as a legacy of the conflict.

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