North and South Korean leaders hold historic meeting

Kim Jong Un won't be taking any chances Friday when the North Korean leader crosses the border for a historic summit with his counterpart in the South.

Another followed seven years later.

Just months ago, Trump and Kim were trading threats and insults as North Korea's rapid advances in pursuit of nuclear-armed missiles capable of hitting the United States raised fears of a fresh conflict on the Korean peninsula.

Al Jazeera's Kathy Novak, reporting from Seoul, looks back at those events and what might be different this time around.

North Korea recently announced it will shutter its nuclear test site and suspend nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests, and Kim has indicated he's ready to discuss denuclearization.

Kim will set off on foot at 9:30 am (0030 GMT) to meet South Korean President Moon Jae In, presidential chief of staff Im Jong Seok said Thursday at a briefing on the following day's schedule.

In recent days, Seoul has promoted the idea of a path toward a peace treaty to formally end the 1950 to 1953 Korean War.

Kim is to sign the guest book before the morning session starts, Im said, describing the occasion as a "summit for peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula".

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The inter-Korean summit should not serve as some sort of precursor to a U.S.

Kim is to be given a military honor guard today before the two leaders are to walk to the Peace House, a glass and concrete building on the southern side of the truce village of Panmunjom where the summit is to be held.

With heavily armed soldiers and propaganda broadcasts blasted over loundspeakers from both sides, the DMZ has always been a symbol of hostilities on the divided peninsula.

South and North Korea are in discussions about a peace agreement that could officially end the state of war, an effort Trump said has his "blessing" if Pyongyang agreed to give up its nuclear arsenal.

Trump acknowledged the rhetoric that both he and Kim deployed over the previous year and the schoolyard taunts of nuclear "buttons" was "very, very nasty" and heightened fears of nuclear war.

Moon, who took office in May pledging to restore ties with the North and tirelessly called for dialogue, helped steer Kim and Trump toward meeting, a major coup for the liberal president. The summit comes after North Korea sent athletes, musical performers and officials to February's Winter Olympics, including Kim's sister, who met with Moon to deliver her brother's desire for a summit.

"They had a great meeting", Trump said, without revealing what they discussed.

The lifting of global sanctions is dependent on him giving up his nuclear weapons.


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