North Korea 'willing to give up nuclear weapons' as summit agreed between Kim Jong-un and South Korean president

North Korea 'willing to give up nuclear weapons' as summit agreed between Kim Jong-un and South Korean presidentNorth Korea has vowed to halt nuclear and missile tests if it holds talks with the US, in a major diplomatic breakthrough that could lead to a peaceful resolution of military tensions on the Korean peninsula. The pledge was made during an unprecedented meeting between top South Korean security officials and the reclusive North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, on Monday evening. In another significant development, North and South Korea have agreed to hold their first joint summit in over a decade in late April, according to Chung Eui-yong, the leader of the South's two-day delegation to the North. US President Donald Trump welcomed the move, talking up the chance of progress as he praised the "serious effort" being made by the three nations. In a sign of  softening rhetoric, Mr Trump tweeted on Tuesday morning: "Possible progress being made in talks with North Korea. "For the first time in many years, a serious effort is being made by all parties concerned. The World is watching and waiting!" However, Mr Trump added: "May be false hope, but the US is ready to go hard in either direction!" The summit, between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un, will be held in the border village of Panmunjom, in the highly militarised zone between the two countries who are still technically at war. Mr Chung said that North Korea had expressed its willingness to talk to the United States “in an open-ended dialogue to discuss the issue of denuclearisation and to normalise relations with North Korea”. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un suprised many by personally hosting the South Korean delegation for dinner Credit: AFP Pyongyang had indicated that it would not need to keep its nuclear weapons if military threats against the country are resolved and it receives a credible security guarantee, said the South Korean envoy. The North Koreans, who dined with the South Korean delegation for four hours at their national party headquarters, had also vowed never to use nuclear and conventional weapons against their southern neighbours, Mr Chung added. The promise to freeze its nuclear programme, in an apparent reversal of earlier statements that the US demand to denuclearise was “ridiculous”, opens the door for talks with the Trump administration, which has previously stated it will negotiate “under the right conditions". Former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, left, and then South Korean President Kim Dae-jung met in Pyongyang in 2000 Washington has yet to respond to North Korea’s overture but will likely do so after senior officials are debriefed in full by the South Korean envoys later this week. Meanwhile Mr Chung said the South and North had agreed to set up a “hotline” between their leaders to allow “close consultations and a reduction of military tension.” Possible progress being made in talks with North Korea. For the first time in many years, a serious effort is being made by all parties concerned. The World is watching and waiting! May be false hope, but the U.S. is ready to go hard in either direction!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 6, 2018 The April summit will be only the third in recent memory. The past two, in 2000 and 2007, led to a series of cooperative projects between the two Koreas but not, ultimately, peace.



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