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North and South Korea Set Date for Summit

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Train believed carrying top North Korean delegation leaves Beijing

Beijing hopes an upcoming summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, and another one between Kim and US President Donald Trump will yield significant results, China's top diplomat said here on Friday. All parties are expected to discuss the denuclearisation of North Korea. As the third-largest steel exporter to the US, South Korea had a lot to lose from the 25 per cent tariffs. These talks have also opened up the possibility of talks between US and North Korea as Kim Jong-un wrote a letter to President Donald Trump inviting him to a round of talks. Kim's father and predecessor, Kim Jong Il, met with South Korean Presidents Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun in 2000 and 2007, respectively, in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital.

The leaders of North and South Korea will hold high-level discussions next month ahead of Kim's meeting with President Trump; announcing the rare worldwide summit as both nations aim to soothe tensions after years of heated rhetoric and massive war games.

As part of the revised arrangement, the two countries also agreed to ensure that they do not devalue each other's currencies intentionally. Moon's spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom in a statement on Thursday called it an encouraging sign that Kim expressed firm willingness for dialogue with South Korea and the United States during his visit to Beijing.

Yesterday, the president hailed the agreement as a "great deal for American and Korean workers". "We believe this meeting will prove helpful in solving the problems surrounding the Korean Peninsula through political discussions and agreements on the peninsula's denuclearization and establishment of peace and security". Kim got the ball rolling with a call for talks in a New Year's Day speech, which led to his nation's participation in the Pyeongchang Olympics and a series of meetingS between the two Koreas.

South Korea's Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Paik Un-kyu said on the sidelines of a news conference in Seoul that the ministry was trying to figure out the real intent of Trump's remarks, a trade ministry spokeswoman said. The change in tactics could be an attempt to ease pressure from heavy sanctions and improve its economy.

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The United States and South Korea earlier this week agreed to revise their six-year-old free trade agreement with a side deal to deter competitive currency devaluation by Seoul and more access for USA automakers and drug makers to the South Korean market.The deal also lifts the threat of a 25 percent US tariff on imports of steel from South Korea in exchange for quotas that will effectively cut US imports of Korean steel by about 30 percent. However, the North has yet to officially confirm its interest in a summit between Kim and Trump.

"This had to work well", a senior official at South Korea's presidential Blue House said.

On a subsequent visit to the United States, Moon's envoys brokered a potential meeting between Kim and Trump, who said he would meet the North Korean leader "by May". Following a months-long pause in military drills and despite the thaw in Seoul-Pyongyang ties, South Korea and the United States will resume joint military exercises on April 1.

"Tucked away in this strategy is a hidden message that North Korea does not consider South Korea to be its opposite party in discussing national security", the former government official said.

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