The first inter-Korean summit in more than a decade and talks between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump are set to take place following the South Korean envoys’ visit to Pyongyang.
Announcing the outcome of the two-day visit to the North, South Korea's chief presidential envoy and national security adviser Chung Eui-yong said Tuesday the two Koreas have agreed on a meeting between President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the border truce village of Panmunjeom at the end of April.
Chung then visited the U.S. to brief Trump on the result of his meeting with Kim, and held a news conference at the White House on Thursday.
He said the North Korean leader has invited the U.S. president for talks and Trump accepted the offer, agreeing to meet by May.
Kim Jong-un also pledged that North Korea will refrain from any further nuclear or missile tests.
Kim is also known to have said that he understands the regular military drills held between South Korea and the U.S. and that he wishes to meet Trump in the near future.
President Trump appreciated the South Korean envoy’s briefing and said he would meet Kim Jong-un by May to achieve permanent denuclearization.
The White House has also confirmed that Trump has accepted Kim’s invitation to meet.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the time and venue will be decided at a later date.
She added the U.S. highly anticipates North Korea's denuclearization and until then the policy of maximum pressure and sanctions will remain in place.
Earlier, a five-member South Korean delegation headed by national security adviser Chung Eui-yong and also including spy agency chief Suh Hoon visited Pyongyang Monday and Tuesday.
In a briefing in Seoul on Thursday, Chung said the two Koreas decided to establish a hotline to ease military tension and for close communication, adding the two leaders will hold their first phone conversation using the hotline ahead of the summit.
Chung said the North clarified its will for denuclearization and made sure it has no reason to possess nuclear weapons if military threats against the regime are resolved and it's given a security guarantee.
The South Korean official said the North also confirmed it will not resume strategic provocations, including additional nuclear or ballistic missile tests, while dialogue is under way, noting the North also promised not to use conventional or nuclear weapons against the South.
Chung also said he had a message from the North to be conveyed to Washington which he passed on to Trump during his visit to the White House.
The North Korea nuclear crisis appears now to have completely shifted to a dialogue phase. The envisioned Washington-Pyongyang talks in May will follow the planned inter-Korean summit scheduled next month, the first of its kind since 2007.
If the two meetings do materialize, experts say it can help build a framework for a lasting era of peace on the Korean Peninsula.