S.Korea lists agenda for summit with North

EPA-EFE  JEON HEON-KYUN

EPA-EFE JEON HEON-KYUN

It also wants to strengthen ties with the United States ahead of the country's planned meeting with the North. The talks yielded an agreement to organize a meeting between the leaders of the two Koreas. "We should improve the frozen inter-Korean relations", Kim said in the televised address, "and glorify this meaningful year as an eventful one, noteworthy in the history of the nation". "If they can't, they should meet again to sign the treaty".

President Moon Jae-in reaffirmed his resolve Tuesday to establish permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula, saying the denuclearization of North Korea is the most urgent task facing his country but is only part of an ultimate objective to ensure co-existence and co-prosperity of the divided Koreas.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un attended a ballet performance by a Chinese art troupe with his wife in Pyongyang, official media reported Tuesday.

Experts said it would be hard for the two sides to sign the peace treaty, given the differences of opinion on how to sign the deal. "Peace is as complicated as denuclearization", said John Delury, an associate professor of Chinese studies at Yonsei University in Seoul.

"There also has to be a process of actually delivering the peace", he added. North Korea also expressed readiness to hold a summit meeting with the USA president.

Seoul has said the peace treaty should be signed by the two Koreas, guaranteed by the U.S. and China with support from Russian Federation and Japan, and later approved by the UN. But UN sanctions that toughened after the North's nuclear and missile tests previous year are feared to take a huge toll on its economy if they continue, foreign experts say.

UN 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.

The recent thaw between Seoul and Pyongyang follows months of soaring tensions as the North conducted its most powerful nuclear test and launched more than 20 missiles - including two intermediate-range weapons that flew over Japan and another long-range missile that experts say puts the whole of the United States in striking distance.

South Korea and North Korea will hold this week talks at a high level, which will determine the agenda of the summit of leaders of the two countries, which is scheduled for April 27.

Mr Im added that a direct hotline between the two leaders would be operational by Friday for possible trials before the summit.

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