North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is learning how to make friends and influence people, but to what end remains to be seen.
Kim will meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who has already met Kim’s younger sister, at the inter-Korean border on April 27, South Korea revealed Thursday, according to multiple reports. The date of the upcoming inter-Korean summit was set during bilateral talks Thursday. The agenda for the meeting has yet to be determined, and additional planning talks are expected before next month’s meeting.
Since the Korean War left the Korean Peninsula divided, North and South Korea have held only three inter-Korean leadership summits. All summits have been orchestrated by liberal governments, which tend to put greater emphasis on dialogue and diplomacy than the more confrontational conservatives.
South Korean President Kim Dae-jung met with Kim Jong Il in 2000, and South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun met with Kim in 2007. Neither meeting successfully curbed North Korea’s nuclear program.
Kim Jong Un, who took control of his country after his father’s death in 2011, had not until this week left North Korea or met with a foreign head of state as the leader of North Korea. Kim visited Beijing this week for a secret meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Observers argue that the meeting elevates Kim’s status as the legitimate leader of his nuclear-armed country and again makes China a major player in the situation on the Korean Peninsula. Others see the meeting as a path to possible denuclearization.
The young North Korean leader is expected to also meet with President Donald Trump sometime before May. Trump tweeted Wednesday that he is looking forward to his meeting with Kim, who the president expects to take steps toward the denuclearization of the peninsula.
Tokyo is also reportedly in touch with Pyongyang, discussing a possible meeting between Kim and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The meeting could potentially take place in June.
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