Moon adviser says North Korea seeks economic growth

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After meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang in March, South Korea's national security adviser and spy chief said Kim was committed to denuclearizing the Korean peninsula and had expressed a willingness to meet U.S. President Donald Trump.

The peninsula remains bisected in a perpetual stalemate, with the USA -backed South Korean military lined up against more than a million North Korean troops.

The third inter-Korean summit, following two previous meetings in 2000 and 2007, will be held on the South Korean side of the truce village of Panmunjom.

Reclusive North Korea has been pursuing nuclear and missile programs in defiance of UN Security Council sanctions.

South Korea has listed 3 main issues to be discussed at its summit with North Korea next week.

Kim is scheduled to hold a summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on April 27.

"There also has to be a process of actually delivering the peace". "We should improve the frozen inter-Korean relations", Kim said in the televised address, "and glorify this meaningful year as an eventful one, noteworthy in the history of the nation".

Any joint statement is not expected to include economic co-operation with the North, Im said.

The recent thaw between Seoul and Pyongyang follows months of soaring tensions as the North conducted its most powerful nuclear test and launched more than 20 missiles - including two intermediate-range weapons that flew over Japan and another long-range missile that experts say puts the whole of the United States in striking distance.

After sharply raising regional tensions with a series of nuclear and missile tests last year, Kim has been reaching out to Seoul and Washington this year, prompting speculation over why he is doing so just as he appears close to achieving his objective of developing nuclear missiles capable of targeting the US mainland.

UN Security Council sanctions imposed since North Korea's first nuclear test in 2006 and strengthened over the past decade aim to cut North Korea off from worldwide trade.

The telephone line could be operational by around Friday, but it is not clear when Moon and Kim would use it the first time, Im said.

No peace treaty has been signed to replace the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War, and the US and North Korea have been at loggerheads since formal hostilities ended.

The comments by culture minister Do Jong-whan came as the country's conservative newspaper Munwha Ilbo said the two Koreas were discussing plans to announce an official end to the military conflict on the peninsula.

"Given the historical importance of the upcoming summits [inter-Korean Summit and the DPRK-U.S. Summit], the President of the Republic of Korea can not leave the country".

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