Korea summit
LATEST UPDATE: September 25, 2019 - 1:25pm
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September 25, 2019

South Korean President Moon Jae-in proposes that the United Nations create an "international peace zone" to replace the peninsula's divide, saying the idea would both reassure the North and inspire the world.

The left-leaning leader, whose diplomacy paved the way for historic summits between President Donald Trump and North Korean strongman Kim Jong Un, laid out his rosy vision for the last Cold War frontier in an address to the UN General Assembly.

He asked the international community to commit to designating the international peace area to replace the 250-kilometer (155-mile) Demilitarized Zone that has split the two Koreas for more than 60 years. — AFP

August 16, 2019

The South's Joint Chiefs of Staff says North Korea fired two "unidentified projectiles" into the sea on Friday -- the latest in a series of such launches by Pyongyang.

The South Korean military says the projectiles were fired from near the city of Tongchon of Kangwon Province into the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan.

"The military is monitoring the situation in case of additional launches while maintaining a readiness posture," the JCS says. — AFP

July 31, 2019

Seoul says Pyongyang fired two ballistic missiles on Wednesday, days after a similar launch that the nuclear-armed North described as a warning to the South over planned joint military drills with the United States.

The two devices were fired from the Wonsan area on the east coast at dawn and flew around 250 kilometres (155 miles) into the sea, says South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"We stress a series of missile launches do not help ease tensions in the Korean Peninsula and urge the North to refrain from such acts," they say in a statement, while the presidential Blue House expressed "strong concern". — AFP

July 31, 2019

Pyongyang fired two ballistic missiles on Wednesday, Seoul said, days after a similar launch that the nuclear-armed North described as a warning to the South over planned joint military drills with the United States.

The two devices were fired from the Wonsan area on the east coast at dawn and flew around 250 kilometres (155 miles), said South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"We stress a series of missile launches do not help ease tensions in the Korean Peninsula and urge the North to refrain from such acts," they said in a statement.

The North is banned from ballistic missile launches under UN Security Council resolutions but it was the second such firing in less than a week, despite a meeting between leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump last month.

Pyongyang and Washington are engaged in a long-running diplomatic process over the North's nuclear and missile programmes that has seen three high-profile encounters between their leaders in the space of a year. ?— Agence France-Presse

July 29, 2019

Seoul sent three North Koreans who crossed the maritime border in a fishing boat back home on Monday after they said they wanted to return, the Unification ministry said.

"All of the three crew members, as well as the wooden vessel, will be returned to the North," the ministry told reporters in Seoul.

The boat and three crew had set off, a ministry official told AFP.

The vessel had a white towel tied to its mast when it crossed the Northern Limit Line in the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan, into South Korean waters late Saturday.

Thinking the towel might be a sign the crew wanted to defect, South Korean authorities took the boat to a military port for investigation.

But when questioned the crew said they had crossed the border by mistake and wanted to go home, the ministry said. — Agence France-Presse

July 26, 2019

State media says North Korean leader Kim Jong Un supervised the launch of "a new type of tactical guided weapon" as a "solemn warning" to the South, a day after the North fired two missiles into the sea.

Kim personally organised and guided the firing of the "state-of-the-art weaponry system" on Thursday and was "gratified" with the outcome, KCNA says.

It was Pyongyang's first missile test since an impromptu June meeting between Kim and US President Donald Trump in the demilitarised zone between North and South Korea. — AFP

July 11, 2019

North Korea says South Korea's planned deployment of new US stealth fighter jets was an "extremely dangerous action" that would compel it to use "special armaments" to shoot them down.

South Korea, a major US ally, received its first two F-35A jets -- one of the world's most advanced military aircraft -- in March under a $7 billion contract signed in 2014.

The country plans to deploy 40 of the American jets by the end of 2021, with around a quarter of those expected to be operational this year. — AFP

June 27, 2019

North Korea warns the South to stop "meddling" in nuclear talks between Pyongyang and Washington, denying President Moon Jae-in's assertion that dialogue was under way between the two Koreas.

"The reality is the contrary," senior foreign ministry official Kwon Jong Gun says in a statement carried by the state news agency KCNA.

"The south Korean authorities would better mind their own internal business," he adds, in a stinging rebuke to the North's neighbour days before US President Donald Trump arrives in Seoul amid a nuclear deadlock.

May 9, 2019

South Korea's military say North Korea fired a number of unidentified projectiles as a US envoy visited Seoul for discussions on how to break the nuclear deadlock.

"North Korea fired unidentified projectiles eastward" from Sino-ri in North Pyongan province, the South's Joint Chiefs of Staff says in a statement. — AFP

May 4, 2019

North Korea launched an "unidentified short-range missile" towards the East Sea -- also known as Sea of Japan -- Seoul's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) says.

Pyongyang "fired a missile from its east coast town of Wonsan to the eastern direction at 9:06 am (0006 GMT) today," the JCS says in a statement.

South Korea and the United States "are analysing details related to the missile", it adds. — AFP

May 3, 2019

South Korean foreign minister Kang Kyung-wha says that Pyongyang needs to show "visible, concrete and substantial" denuclearisation action if it wants sanctions relief, as the North's deadlock with the United States continues.

Kang's comments at a press conference come just days after a senior North Korean official warned Washington of an "unwanted outcome" if it didn't adjust its stance on economic sanctions.

Washington and Pyongyang have been at loggerheads since the collapse of a summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump in February. — AFP

March 19, 2019

A top security adviser to the South's president says North Korea should take "actual action" towards giving up its nuclear weapons to break the deadlock in talks with Washington, suggesting Seoul's patience with Pyongyang may be wearing thin.

President Moon Jae-in was instrumental in brokering the negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington, seizing on the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea to catalyse a rapid diplomatic rapprochement after a year of missile tests, threats and tensions. — AFP

March 8, 2019

An academic and former head of a research institute has been appointed as Seoul's new unification minister, the South's key point of contact on inter-Korean affairs.

The appointment of Kim Yeon-chul comes days after the US and North Korea held a second much-anticipated summit in Vietnam, but failed to reach any agreement on the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. — AFP

January 11, 2019

A senior UN official warns it would be a "missed opportunity" if diplomatic talks with North Korea this year did not address human rights, urging Seoul and Washington to highlight the issue.

The impoverished but nuclear-armed nation stands accused by United Nations investigators of "systematic, widespread and gross" human rights violations that range from rape, torture, extrajudicial killings to running political prisoner camps. — AFP

December 4, 2018

South Korea's president says Tuesday no timeframe has been set for a historic visit to Seoul by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un despite both hoping it will take place this year.

President Moon Jae-in says more important than the timing of the visit is that it would accelerate the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and give impetus to talks between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump. — AP

December 1, 2018

A North Korean soldier defected to South Korea across the eastern land border on Saturday, the South's military says.

Defections across the closely guarded inter-Korean frontier are rare, and this one comes as the neighbours pursue a delicate reconciliation process. — AFP

November 30, 2018

A South Korean train has crossed into North Korea for the first time in a decade -- packed with engineers on a mission to upgrade the North’s dilapidated rail tracks and create a linked, cross-border network.

Connecting up the railway systems was one of the agreements made earlier this year in a key meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and the South's President Moon Jae-in. 

It marked the first time in a decade that a train from the South entered North Korea. — AFP

November 24, 2018

South Korea says the United Nations Security Council has granted sanctions exemption for surveys on North Korean railroad sections the Koreas want to connect with the South.

Seoul's Foreign Ministry says negotiations with the council's North Korea Sanctions Committee are now finalized.

The surveys would require the South to bring to the North fuel and a variety of goods, including possibly cars to test on northern tracks.

The Koreas plan to hold a groundbreaking ceremony by the end of the year on an ambitious project to connect their railways and roads as agreed by their leaders.

But they cannot move much further along without the lifting of U.S.-led sanctions against North Korea, which isn't likely before Pyongyang takes firmer steps toward relinquishing its nuclear weapons and missiles. — AP

November 10, 2018

A South Korean Defense Ministry official says the North and South Korean militaries have completed withdrawing troops and firearms from 22 front-line guard posts as they continue to implement a wide-ranging agreement reached in September to reduce tensions.

The official says soldiers on Saturday completed disarming 11 guard posts on the southern side of the Demilitarized Zone that divides the Koreas.

The official says the ministry believes the North has also finished withdrawing personnel and weapons from 11 guard posts on the northern side of the DMZ.

The Koreas plan to destroy 20 of the structures by the end of November, while symbolically leaving one demilitarized guard post on each side. They plan to jointly verify the results in December. — AP

November 1, 2018

 South Korean president says North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will "soon" visit Seoul. — AP

October 10, 2018

Seoul is considering lifting some of its unilateral sanctions against Pyongyang to create more momentum for diplomacy aimed at improving relations and defusing the nuclear crisis, South Korea's foreign minister says.

During a parliamentary audit of her ministry, Kang Kyung-wha says the government is reviewing whether to lift sanctions South Korea imposed on the North in 2010 following a deadly attack on a warship that killed 45 South Korean sailors. — AP

September 19, 2018

China has welcomed the outcome of the inter-Korean summit and will continue supporting both sides in further talks on reducing tensions.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang says China noted the positive effects of the meeting on easing military tensions and promoting peace talks and the denuclearization process.

China is North Korea's most important ally and has long called on its fellow communist neighbor to work toward disarmament and turn its focus to economic development. China hosted long-stalled six-nation denuclearization talks and insists that its interests be respected in any long-term settlement.

It has also strongly objected to South Korea's deployment of an advanced U.S. missile defense system that bolsters Washington's military presence in Northeast Asia, saying it threatens China's security. Any move to reduce the North Korean missile threat may give it hope that the system could one day be removed. — AP

September 19, 2018

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un plan to visit a volcano sacred to the North on the last day of Moon's visit.

Moon's office said Wednesday that Moon accepted Kim's offer to visit Mount Paektu on Thursday.

The volcano topped with a deep crater lake is at the heart of North Korea's foundation mythology used to legitimize the Kim family's dynastic rule.

Members of the Kim family are referred to as sharing the "Paektu Bloodline." The mountain on the North Korean-Chinese border is also emblazoned on the country's national emblem and lends its name to everything from rockets to power stations.

According to the official narrative, Kim Il Sung saved the Korean Peninsula with daring guerrilla raids against Japanese invaders from his base on the slopes of Paektu. South Korean historians say the tale is exaggerated. — AP

September 19, 2018

North and South Korea have agreed to disarm a jointly controlled border village, starting with the removal of land mines.

A joint statement signed by the countries' military chiefs on Wednesday said the Koreas will aim to remove the mines in the Joint Security Area in the truce village of Panmunjom within October and also remove guard posts from the area.

The statement says the Koreas agreed to jointly verify the results of such steps and also allow tourists and observers to move freely within the JSA. — AP

September 19, 2018

North and South Korea have agreed to make their first joint searches for the remains of their soldiers killed during the 1950-53 Korean War.

A joint statement signed by their defense chiefs in Pyongyang on Wednesday says the Koreas will first remove land mines and other explosives in a central area of their border before starting the searches next April.

It says the area they plan to search is where one of the fiercest battles happened during the war.

The statement says the joint searches would be the first of their kind since the end of the Korean War.

The statement was signed while the leaders of the two Koreas were present after their summit in Pyongyang. — AP

September 19, 2018

A joint statement says the two Koreas agreed to establish buffer zones along their land and sea borders to reduce military tensions and prevent accidental clashes.

The statement signed by the countries' defense chiefs also says the Koreas agreed to withdraw 11 guard posts from the Demilitarized Zone by December with the aim of removing them eventually.

The statement says the Koreas also agreed to no-fly zone above the military demarcation line that bisects the two Koreas that will apply to planes, helicopters and drones.

Seoul has been stressing the importance of reducing the conventional military threat between the Korea to prevent accidental clashes that can escalate into a nuclear conflict.

The statement was issued following the Pyongyang summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in. — AP

September 19, 2018

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sign a joint statement, no details disclosed. — AP

September 18, 2018

Britain's top diplomat says it's time for North Korea to take concrete actions toward eliminating its nuclear weapons.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Tuesday in Tokyo that dialogue has helped improve the atmosphere "but we need to see actions now."

He spoke as South Korean President Moon Jae-in was visiting Pyongyang to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to try to revitalize the North's denuclearization talks with the United States.

Hunt told The Associated Press that Britain is ready to relax economic sanctions on North Korea when there is concrete evidence of a change from the North Korean side.

He is in Japan to hold "strategic dialogue" talks with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono. — AP

September 18, 2018

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in are holding a car parade along Pyongyang streets.

The recorded South Korean media pool footage showed the two leaders aboard a convertible black limousine smiling and waving their hands as residents, many wearing colorful traditional handbook dresses, chanted and waved plastic flowers.

A convoy of sedans and motorcycles were the only other cars on the neatly manicured route.

Moon arrived Tuesday morning for a three-day visit. They're holding their third summit and will attempt to improve ties and resolve a standoff in nuclear disarmament talks. — AP

September 18, 2018

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in have arrived at a guesthouse in Pyongyang where they are expected to have talks over lunch.

Kim and Moon arrived at the Paekhwawon State Guesthouse in a black Mercedes convertible and were seen talking and adjusting their hair and before stepping out of the backseat.

Their wives also reportedly shared a separate vehicle to the guesthouse.

The Paekwawon Guesthouse was also where former South Korean Presidents Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun stayed during their summits with Kim's father in 2000 and 2007. — AP

September 18, 2018

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has greeted South Korean President Moon Jae-in upon his arrival in Pyongyang for their third summit this year to improve ties and help resolve the nuclear standoff.

Moon and Kim embraced at the Sunan International Airport on Tuesday as thousands of North Koreans cheered and waved flowers, North Korean flags and a blue-and-white map symbolizing a unified peninsula.

Moon and Kim and their wives shook the hands of North Korean and South Korean officials before they were saluted by a North Korean ceremonial guard.

They then inspected goose-stepping soldiers, and Moon shook hands with North Korean civilians and bowed deeply to them. — AP

September 18, 2018

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has landed in Pyongyang for his third summit of the year with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Moon was greeted at the Sunan International Airport in Pyongyang by thousands of North Koreans, lined in neat rows and dressed in black suits and traditional hanboks. They waved bouquets of artificial flowers, the North Korean flag and a white-and-blue flag with a map symbolizing a unified Korean Peninsula. North Korean soldiers and naval troops quick-marched into position to welcome Moon, and Kim Jong Un's sister was seen walking amid the preparations.

Moon is to meet Kim Jong Un later Tuesday and again on Wednesday during his three-day trip.

The main focus is to see whether Moon can set up talks between Pyongyang and Washington to salvage stalled nuclear diplomacy.

Moon's previous meetings with Kim were at the border village of Panmunjom. — AP

September 17, 2018

The shine is starting to come off South Korean President Moon Jae-in's engagement strategy with the North.

The liberal politician, who reversed nearly a decade of conservative hard-line policy toward North Korea after his election last year, is preparing for a third summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un amid growing public skepticism about his approach.

Moon, who goes to Pyongyang on Tuesday, has seen his approval rating fall to 49 percent in a recent Gallup Korea survey, the first time it dipped below 50 percent since he took office in May 2017 promising better ties with North Korea and political reform. Moon's approval rating stood at 83 percent after his first summit with Kim in April. -- AP

September 14, 2018

South Korea launches its first ever missile-capable attack submarine, despite a recent diplomatic thaw with the nuclear-armed North.

The $700 million, 3,000-tonne Dosan Ahn Chang-ho submarine is capable of firing both cruise and ballistic missiles and the first of three planned diesel-electric boats to go into service in the next five years. — AFP

September 11, 2018

South Korea says Tuesday that it will hold military talks with North Korea this week to discuss ways to ease tensions along their border ahead of a summit between their leaders.

The talks scheduled for Thursday at the border village of Panmunjom will come just days before the leaders of the two countries meet for the third time this year. — AP

September 7, 2018

South Korea's president says he's pushing for "irrevocable" progress on efforts to denuclearize North Korea by the end of this year.

President Moon Jae-in made the comments in an interview with Indonesian newspaper Kompas published on Friday.

Moon sent a group of top officials to Pyongyang this week to help resolve a stalemate over nuclear diplomacy. His envoys said that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his commitment to a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula though he expressed frustration over outside skepticism about his sincerity.

Moon says he wants to see a declaration to end the 1950-53 Korean War being made within this year as part of trust-building measures among concerned countries.

U.S. officials have demanded North Korea take serious, concrete disarmament steps before receiving outside concessions. — AP

August 31, 2018

South Korean President Moon Jae-in will send a special envoy to Pyongyang next Wednesday to discuss plans to hold a summit with the North's Kim Jong Un and nuclear disarmament, a local media says. 

The unnamed envoy will visit the North's capital city on September 5, Yonhap news agency says, citing a presidential spokesman. — AFP

June 29, 2018

South Korea's point man for inter-Korean affairs says Seoul will try to facilitate civilian-level exchanges with North Korea in coming months to strengthen the conciliation process between the rivals.

Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon says strengthened relations between the Koreas will increase the chances of successful nuclear diplomacy between Washington and Pyongyang. —  AP

April 30, 2018

South Korea will remove propaganda-broadcasting loudspeakers from the border with North Korea this week, officials said Monday, as the rivals move to follow through with their leaders' summit declaration that produced reconciliation steps without a breakthrough in the nuclear standoff, the Associated Press reports.

April 27, 2018

The two Koreas have agreed to rid their peninsula of nuclear weapons but failed to provide any new specific measures how to achieve that.

A joint statement issued after their leaders' talks Friday says the two Koreas confirmed their goal of achieving "a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula through complete denuclearization."

North Korea has placed its nukes up for negotiations. It has previously used the term "denuclearization" to say it can disarm only when the United States withdraws its 28,500 troops in South Korea.

The statement didn't say what other specific disarmament steps North Korea would take. — AP

April 27, 2018

Seoul says the leaders of the two Koreas had "sincere, candid" talks on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula"and other issues during their summit talks.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are holding the Koreas' third-ever summit talks at the border village of Panmunjom on Friday.

Moon's spokesman Yoon Young-chan told reporters that the two leaders also discussed how to establish peace on the Korean Peninsula and improve ties between the rivals.

They are to meet again later Friday.

Yoon says the two Koreas are working on a joint statement to be issued after their one-day meeting. — AP 

April 27, 2018

South Korea says North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made a reference to North Koreans who escaped from the country while discussing prospects of peace between the rivals in his summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

Moon's spokesman Yoon Young-chan says Kim mentioned the defectors among people who have high expectations for the summit to heal scars and improve relations between the rivals.

Yoon quoted Kim as saying: "We should value this opportunity so that the scars between the South and North could be healed."

Yoon says Kim added: "The border line isn't that high; it will eventually be erased if a lot of people pass over it."

North Korea normally expresses anger toward defectors and often accuses South Korea of abducting or enticing its citizens to defect.

The North in 2016 accused the South of abducting 12 North Korean women who had worked at restaurant in China and demanded them to be sent back to the North. That was months before the North called a senior North Korean diplomat who defected to the South as "human scum."

Around 30,000 North Koreans have defected to South Korea since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. — AP

April 27, 2018

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in have finished the morning session of their summit at a border truce village.

Television showed bodyguards jogging beside Kim's black limousine as it rolled back to the northern side of the Pamunjom where Kim and other North Korean officials participating in the summit are expected to have lunch.

The leaders plan to meet again in the afternoon at the southern side of the village for talks Seoul says are aimed at resolving the standoff over the North's nuclear weapons. — AP

April 27, 2018

Kim Jong Un tells his southern rival he doesn't want a repeat of past "where we were unable to fulfill our agreements". — AP

April 27, 2018

White House says it hopes the Korean summit will help lead to a "future of peace."

The leaders of North and South Korea exchange a warm handshake Friday over the demarcation line that divides the two countries ahead of a historic summit.

"I am happy to meet you," Moon Jae-in told his counterpart Kim Jong Un as he became the first leader from the North to step into the South since the Korean war. Moon also briefly stepped into the North before walking back. — AFP

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