For the third time in a year South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in will be meeting his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong Un to try to resolve deadlocked nuclear diplomacy (Denuclearisation) with Pyongyang.
Moon’s goals for Tuesday’s meeting will also be to ease a decades-long military standoff and promote peace on a Korean Peninsula that many feared was close to war last year.
The South Korean president said ahead of his trip that he will push for “irreversible, permanent peace” and for better dialogue between Pyongyang and Washington during “heart-to-heart” talks with Kim.
Moon’s chief of staff, however, played down the chance that Moon’s summit with Kim will produce major progress in nuclear diplomacy.
A presidential plane carrying Moon left a military airport near Seoul on Tuesday morning.
The plane was to fly in an indirect route off the west coast of the Korean Peninsula before turning inland and arriving at Pyongyang’s international airport about 80 minutes later, Moon’s office said.
A group of about 150 business, entertainment and sports leaders streamed onto the government aircraft before Moon left.
Since taking office in May last year, Moon has met Kim twice at the Koreas’ shared border village of Panmunjom.
His Pyongyang trip makes him the third South Korean leader to visit North Korea’s capital for an inter-Korean summit since the peninsula was divided into a Soviet-backed North and U.S.-backed South at the end of World War II in 1945.