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Korean Leaders Have 'Serious And Honest' Talks On Denuclearization

Korean Leaders Embrace At Historic Summit
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WATCH: Korean Leaders Embrace At Historic Summit

Korean Leaders Embrace At Historic Summit
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South Korean President Moon Jae In and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have held "serious and honest" talks about denuclearization, a South Korean presidential office spokesman says.

Kim Jong Un earlier on April 27 became the first North Korean leader to set foot on South Korean territory since the end of the Korean War in 1953.

Kim crossed the heavily fortified demarcation line at 9:30 a.m. local time to meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who is hosting him at a summit to discuss denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and establishing peaceful ties.

"At the summit, the two leaders held serious and honest discussions on ways to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, establish permanent peace, and develop South-North Korea relations," Yoon Young-chan said in comments quoted by the the South Yonhap news agency.

The two sides were still working on the wording of a joint final statement to be made public at the end of the summit, he added.

Moon and Kim shook hands as he stepped over the line, and Moon said, "I am happy to meet you." Both leaders then briefly stepped back into North Korea before walking back into the South for planned meetings.

The first talks between the two leaders are being held at the Peace House, just south of the border at the joint village of Panmunjom.

South Korea said the summit would discuss "the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the establishment of permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula, and the advancement of inter-Korean relations."

Ahead of the meeting, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned that the international community must maintain sanctions on North Korea until "concrete changes" in its actions are visible, and there should be no reduction yet in pressure on Pyongyang.

"Until we see a concrete change in North Korea's actions, we must continue to put pressure on North Korea and continue with the sanctions," Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels on April 26.

The summit -- the third between the country's leaders after meetings in 2000 and 2007 -- will precede a planned meeting between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump, expected to take place next month or early June.

Tensions in the region escalated last year after North Korea launched several ballistic missiles and performed a nuclear test, while Kim and Trump traded threats and insults.

But at the beginning of this year Kim began an unexpected program of diplomatic outreach, which included the North's attendance in the Winter Olympics in South Korea.

With reporting by dpa, BBC, AP, and Reuters