NATIONAL

Border truce village set to greet Koreas' leaders for summit

By Yonhap
  • Published : Apr 17, 2018 - 11:38
  • Updated : Apr 17, 2018 - 11:38
The border truce village of Panmunjom, a site symbolizing inter-Korean division, is expected to become a venue for reconciliation as the leaders of the two Koreas are set to hold a rare summit there next week.

Panmunjom, some 52 kilometers north of Seoul, is the place where the armistice agreement that ended the 1950-53 Korean War was signed. The two Koreas remain technically at war as the conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

President Moon Jae-in will meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un next Friday on the southern part of Panmunjom inside the Demilitarized Zone that bisects the Koreas. Kim is set to become the first North Korean ruler to cross the border since the war.

(Yonhap)

The truce village is a place full of tension as South and North Korean guards stand face to face, but it also houses conference buildings that serve as venues for inter-Korean talks.

If held, the upcoming talks will mark the third inter-Korean summit following meetings in 2000 and 2007. It will also be the first summit held in Panmunjom as the previous summits were both held in Pyongyang.

The two Koreas have held 655 talks since 1971, and nearly 55 percent of the total, or 360 talks, have been held at the truce village, according to Seoul's unification ministry.

The two sides used Panmunjom for the first time as the venue for talks in August 1971 when Red Cross societies had their first contact.

Both sides held preparatory talks for summits on 17 occasions at Panmunjom in 1994, 2000 and 2018. They opened working-level talks for the 2007 summit in the North Korean border city of Kaesong.

In 1994, South and North Korea sought to hold a summit between North Korean founder and leader Kim Il-sung and former South Korean President Kim Young-sam but failed to do so due to the death of the North's ruler.

Meanwhile, out of all the inter-Korean talks, political issues topped the list by being discussed on 262 occasions, followed by humanitarian topics with 153 and economic issues with 132, it said.

The two Koreas held 59 talks on social and cultural matters and military talks on 49 occasions.

Nearly 38 percent of the total dialogues, or 250 talks, were held in the 2000s when South Korea was ruled by liberal Presidents Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun, data showed.(Yonhap)