Two Koreas to hold summit as Kim renews denuclearisation pledge

Performers in formation in a public square beneath the Arch of Triumph in Pyongyang during a rehearsal for the Arirang Mass Games

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North Korea's U.N. Mission said ambassadors of the two countries sent a letter Friday to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and General Assembly President Miroslav Lajcak requesting that they circulate the "Panmunjom Declaration on Peace, Prosperity and Reunification of the Korean Peninsula" as an official U.N. document. (And Kim clearly understands how to butter up Trump, too.) That alone won't get us to an agreement and an end to the nuclear threat, but it's at least a step in the right direction.

Trump cited insufficient progress by the Kim on his commitment to denuclearizing. "He made that clear", Chung said, according to the news agency.

"I know that a letter is being delivered to me, a personal letter from Kim Jong Un to me".

Mr. Kim has not confirmed his attendance, but his participation would mark another major step in his efforts to bring Pyongyang out of global isolation over its nuclear programme.

The inter-Korean summit would come just before a gathering of world leaders at the United Nations in NY at the end of September, but Seoul said Thursday that it was unlikely Kim would attend.

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"While these talks are military-to-military and scheduled to be confined to the repatriation issue, having some progress on any front would be welcome", the US official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

North Korean girls stand at attention at the end of a performance of the "Arirang" mass games at May Day Stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea, on the eve of the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice.

The United States has 28,500 troops in South Korea and Trump has said in the past it should consider reducing the number unless Seoul shoulders more of the cost. Kim will meet later this month with South Korea President Moon Jae-in to talk over "practical measures" toward that goal.

What about the United Nations report?

In the latest chapter in the roller-coaster diplomacy over North Korea, U.S. President Donald Trump signalled on Thursday that negotiations on denuclearisation remain alive after weeks of an apparent deadlock.

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Chung said Kim had stressed the need for the United States to reciprocate North Korea's initial moves, which have included dismantling a nuclear test site and a missile engine facility. The official added that Kim also promised to cooperate with both South Korea and the United States.

The two Koreas have set a date for a new summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, even as US diplomacy with North Korea has stalled. Earlier this year, Kim also returned what the White House has said are the remains of service members who fought in the Korean War.

This is the first time the North Korean leader laid out a potential deadline for dismantling nuclear weapons, the development of which pushed the region to the brink of military confrontation a year ago. The poster at left reads "Let's thoroughly implement the decisions of the April meeting of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea".

While an end-of-war declaration wouldn't imply a legally binding peace treaty, experts say it could create political momentum that would make it easier for North Korea to steer the discussions toward a peace regime, diplomatic recognition, economic benefits and security concessions.

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