South Korea Delegation Meets with Kim Jong

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THE Democratic People's Republic of Korea is willing to hold talks with the USA on denuclearization and will suspend nuclear tests while those talks are under way, South Korea said yesterday after a delegation returned from Pyongyang where it met leader Kim Jong Un.

The April summit, only the third between the leaders of the two countries, will be held in the truce village of Panmunjeom, Yonhap reported.

The two Koreas also agreed to open communication hotline between Moon and Kim to "defuse military tension and to have close coordination", Chung said on Tuesday.

That visit was returned this week when Moon sent the highest-level delegation in a decade north of the border.

In a tweet, the president forwarded a headline from the Drudge Report about the high-level meeting in Pyongyang, adding, "We will see what happens!"

The visit produced "a very important breakthrough", said Cheong Seong Chang of Sejong Institute think tank, calling the results "an important first step towards stably managing the North's nuclear and missile threats, preventing war on the Korean peninsula and building political and military trust".

Only time will tell if Tuesday's meeting was a historic diplomatic breakthrough, or another trick that could backfire and bring the United States closer to war with Pyongyang. They are expected to visit the USA soon. The Kim dynasty has over the years raised the prospect of abandoning its nuclear-weapons program if the US gave up its hostile policies, though serious negotiations haven't taken place since six-party talks also including China, Japan and Russian Federation broke down in 2009.

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The announcement followed a recent ebb in tensions after months of threats and saber rattling by Washington and North Korea that prompted fears of a new conflict on the divided peninsula.

But the development also offers a welcome glimmer of hope after months of talk emanating from Washington about military options for dealing with North Korea's nuclear advances.

Among Korean steel exports to the United States, a mere 2.4 percent use Chinese materials.

KCNA said Mr Kim had "exchanged views and made a satisfactory agreement" on the letter and gave orders for it to be acted on.

China confirmed today that it had put a hold on a U.S. bid to blacklist ships helping North Korea circumvent sanctions, saying it needs more time to investigate the measure.

"Chairman Kim said that even denuclearisation could be among the agenda items for talks between North Korea and the US", a South Korean official told the country's Yonhap news agency.

The agreed framework breaks down in December 2002 as the United States determines North Korea has been secretly pursuing nuclear weapons and Pyongyang says it has a right to them for defensive purposes. Among the delegation were intelligence chief Suh Hoon and National Security Adviser Chung Eui-yong. The North Korean leader also had a request for the world: that he be seriously acknowledged as a dialogue counterpart, said the official.

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