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Politics

Two Koreas agree to broadcast Moon-Kim summit live

Question of Kim inspecting military guard of honor still not clarified

SEOUL -- Officials from the two Koreas agreed today to broadcast live the historic summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un on April 27.   

Twelve officials from North and South Korea spent over five hours discussing protocol, security, and media arrangement at Panmunjom Truce Village in the demilitarized zone where the summit is to be held.

"Both sides agreed to broadcast the historic South-North Korea summit live to the world from the moment when the two leaders shake hands to their key schedules and activities," Kwon Hyuk-ki, a presidential spokesman at the Blue House in Seoul, told reporters. 

The agreement comes as the two Koreas prepare for their third summit at the southern part of Panmunjom Truce village in the demilitarized zone.

Moon and Kim will exchange views on denuclearization of the Korean peninsula in a preamble to Kim's proposed meeting with the U.S. president, Donald Trump, in May or early June.

There was no indication at the Blue House of whether South Korea's military will provide a guard of honour for inspection by Kim at the summit, the most high level in the South since the peninsula was divided after an inconclusive war seven decades ago.

South Korean presidents Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun were afforded this formal welcome when they visited Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, in 2000 and 2007, respectively.

The president's office also did not disclose if Kim will be accompanied by his wife, Ri Sol Ju, or if the couple would be hosted to a meal with South Korea's first couple, Moon and Kim Jung-sook.

Ri accompanied Kim on his visit to China last month, and the couple enjoyed a sumptuous banquet in Beijing with President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan. 

The two Koreas are expected to wrap up remaining summit details at their next working-level meeting.

Observers believe Kim wants to show himself as the leader of a normal country, and will try and use the live broadcast to change negative perceptions of his reclusive country.

"With the inter-Korea summit, Kim Jong Un wants to tell the world he is the commanding young leader of a normal country," Bong Young-shik, a research fellow at Yonsei Institute for North Korean Studies in Seoul, told the Nikkei Asian Review.

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