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Seoul summit talks in April

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has agreed to meet with South Korea's president next month and impose a moratorium on nuclear and missile tests if his country holds talks with the United States, a senior South Korean official said Tuesday after returning from the North.

The agreements, which follow a flurry of co-operative steps taken by the Koreas during last month's Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, brightened prospects for a dialogue between North Korea and the U.S. over the North's nuclear program.

Last year saw increased fears of war on the Korean Peninsula, with Kim and President Donald Trump exchanging fiery rhetoric and crude insults over Kim's barrage of weapons tests.

But there is still skepticism whether the developments can help establish genuine peace between the Koreas, which have a long history of failing to follow through with major rapprochement agreements.

The United States has also made it clear that it doesn't want empty talks with North Korea and that all options, including military measures, remain on the table.

The Koreas are to hold working-level talks ahead of the summit between Kim and liberal South Korean President Moon Jae-in. If realized, it would be the third-ever such a meeting since the Koreas' 1945 division. The two past summits, in 2000 and 2007, were both held in Pyongyang between Kim's late father, Kim Jong Il, and two liberal South Korean presidents. They resulted in a series of co-operative projects that were scuttled during subsequent conservative administrations in South Korea.

Chung said North Korea also expressed willingness to hold a "candid dialogue" with the United States to discuss its nuclear disarmament and establish diplomatic relations. While such talks with the United States are underway, Chung said North Korea "made it clear that it won't resume strategic provocations like additional nuclear tests or test-launches of ballistic missiles."

North Korea also said it would not need to keep its nuclear weapons if military threats against it are removed and it receives a credible security guarantee, Chung said. He said the North promised not to use its nuclear and conventional weapons against South Korea.



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