SEOUL, South Korea – North and South Korea announced today that their leaders will hold their second-ever summit this month, reprising the historic 2000 meeting that launched unprecedented reconciliation between the two longtime foes.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun will meet Aug. 28-30 in Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital, South Korean presidential security adviser Baek Jong-chun told reporters.
At the only other such North-South summit, Kim met then-South Korean President Kim Dae-jung in June 2000, also in Pyongyang.
The two Koreas remain technically at war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a cease-fire, not a peace treaty, but the 2000 meeting led them to embark on economic cooperation projects and hold reunions of families split by their shared border – the world’s most heavily fortified.
Kim Dae-jung won a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to engage North Korea through his so-called sunshine policy.
However, the first summit’s achievements were tainted by later revelations that the South Korean government made secret payments to foster the meeting.
The two sides will work out the agenda for the summit this month in meetings at the North Korean border city of Kaesong, site of a joint industrial park that is one of the most tangible achievements from the 2000 meeting.
The summit comes at a time of optimism on the peninsula as North Korea has made strides in abandoning its nuclear weapons program, including shutting down its sole operating nuclear reactor last month in exchange for oil aid. The United States and other regional powers are negotiating with North Korea on a timeline for the communist nation to declare all its nuclear programs and disable the facilities.