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South, North Korea to hold historic first summit in decade

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, us president donald trump, us, north korea, south korea In this April 18 File photo, a South Korean soldier stands outside of the Peace House, the venue for the planned summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. (AP)

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is set to cross his country’s heavily militarised border with South Korea on Friday for the first intra-Korea summit in more than a decade, as the old foes seek to end their decades-long conflict and ease tensions over the North’s nuclear weapons programme.The summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in will set the stage for Kim to meet with US.President Donald Trump in late May or early June, in what will be an unprecedented first encounte r between sitting leaders of the two countries.

Just months ago, Trump and Kim were trading threats and insults as North Korea’s rapid advances in pursuit of nuclear-armed missiles capable of hitting the United States raised fears of a fresh conflict on the Korean peninsula.

South Korea’s Moon will personally greet Kim at the military demarcation line at 9:30 a.m. (0030 GMT), making Kim the first North Korean leader to set foot in the South since the 1950-53 Korean War.

The two will be escorted by South Korean honour guards to an official welcoming ceremony before beginning official dialogue at 10:30 a.m. (0130 GMT) at Peace House, a South Korean building inside the border truce village of Panmunjom.
In a dramatic gesture just days before the summit, Kim announced North Korea would suspend nuclear and long-range missile tests and dismantle its only known nuclear test site.

But scepticism is rampant about whether Kim is ready to abandon the hard-ea rned nuclear arsenal his country has defended and developed for decades as what it says is a necessary deterrent against U.S. invasion.
South Korea hopes North Korea’s leader on Friday will directly confirm his will for “complete” denuclearisation of the peninsula.

The two neighbours expect to release a joint statement late on Friday â€" possibly called the Panmunjom Declaration â€" that could address denuclearisation and peace, and an improvement in relations, South Korean officials said.

Impoverished North Korea and the rich, democratic South are technically still at war because the Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

The United States stations 28,500 troops in South Korea as a legacy of the Cold War conflict, which pitted the South, the United States and United Nations forces against the communist North, backed by China and Russia.

On Thursday, Trump said he was considering three or four dates as well as five locations for his me eting with Kim Jong Un, although once again he added that it remained unclear whether the meeting will occur.

Trump has said he expects to meet with Kim in May or June, but he has warned several times that the meeting could be called off if he did not think it could deliver the desired results.

“It could be that I walk out quickly â€" with respect â€" but … it could be that maybe the meeting doesn’t even take place,” he told Fox News by telephone. “Who knows. But I can tell you right now they want to meet.”

Friday’s inter-Korean summit will be the third ever after two former South Korean leaders, Kim Dae-jung in 2000 and Roh Moo-hyun in 2007, met with Kim Jong Un’s late father and predecessor, Kim Jong Il, in Pyongyang.

The latest summit has particular significance not least because of its venue: the Demilitarised Zone, a 160-mile (260 km) long, 2.5-mile (4 km) wide strip of land created in the 1953 armistice to serve as a buffer between t he South and North.

With heavily armed soldiers and propaganda broadcasts blasted over loudspeakers from both sides, the DMZ has long been a symbol of hostilities on the divided peninsula.

South Korea switched off its propaganda broadcasts on Monday to set a positive tone ahead of the summit, and South Korean residents living near the border said the North Korean broadcasts had also appeared to stop on Tuesday.

South and North Korea are in discussions about a peace agreement that could officially end the state of war, an effort Trump said has his “blessing” if Pyongyang agreed to give up its nuclear arsenal.

For the first time, key moments such as Kim crossing the border into the South, the two leaders shaking hands and walking to the Peace House for their summit talks, will be broadcast live.

The summit includes a dinner where Swiss fried potato rosti, as well as chocolates, macarons and gruyere cheese cakes will be served as a homage to Kim†™s childhood spent in Switzerland.

Moon, who took office in May pledging to restore ties with the North and who has tirelessly called for dialogue, helped steer Kim and Trump toward meeting, a major coup for the liberal president.

After dozens of missile launches last year, Kim embarked on a diplomatic offensive at the beginning of the year. Kim sent a delegation to the Winter Olympics in South Korea in February before Trump stunned the world by agreeing to meet Kim to discuss “denuclearisation” of the Korean peninsula.

Now comes the hard part.

The history of failed nuclear negotiations with Pyongyang has made many US officials sceptical of Kim’s true intentions and suspicious of his recent overtures as more of a bid to win relief from wide-ranging UN sanctions and to divide Washington and its allies.
There is also concern that North Korea could insist on taking incremental steps in return for simultaneous incentives from Washington, the kind of a phased approach that US officials have rejected.

Unlike two previous inter-Korean summits, joint economic projects are not expected to be discussed, South Korean officials said. U.N. sanctions imposed since North Korea’s first nuclear test in 2006 and expanded over the past decade deny North Korea a considerable amount of international trade.

Source: Google News

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One-on-one talks at museum, walks by lake side and boat ride to mark Modi-Xi 'heart-to-heart' summit

Home World One-on-one talks at museum, walks by lake side and boat ride to mark Modi-Xi 'heart-to-heart' summit

By PTI | Published: 27th April 2018 12:27 AM |

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Modi and Xi Jinping (File | PTI)

WUHAN: A one-on-one meeting, a tour of one of the best known museums of China, dinner by a picturesque lake side followed by talks with top officials would mark the two-day unprecedented informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping beginning here tomorrow.

Billed as 'heart-to-heart' summit aimed at evolving consensus between the two leaders to look for solutions to some of the most contentious issues including the border dispute bedevilling the two countries, Modi and Xi will begin their marathon one-on-one talks after lunch tomorrow.

They will initially visit the Hubei Provincial Museum here which has a large number of state-level historic and cultural relics.

It will be followed by talks between the two leaders accompanied by six top officials from each side. The two will have one-on-one dinner at the famous East Lake, a favourite holiday destination of China's revolutionary leader Mao Zedong.

On Saturday, they will resume their one-on-one interaction at 10 a.m (local time) with walks by the lake side, boat ride and wind up their talks over lunch, official sources here said.

Th e two leaders began their informal meetings way back in 2014 when Xi was hosted by Modi at the Sabarmati Ashram of Mahatma Gandhi in Gujarat. They have met and interacted with each other in about a dozen international meetings since then.

But this will be their "heart-to-heart" informal summit. There will be no agreement signed or a joint statement issued.

It is a summit, according to the officials, to forge consensus to resolve the issues with follow up actions by officials than announcing any agreements. This is something the leaders of the two countries have never tried so far, they said.

The two leaders would spend most of time interacting with each other only accompanied by translators with one-on-one conversations focussing on global, regional and bilateral issues.

The summit is being seen as an effort by India and China to rebuild trust and improve ties that were hit by the 73-day-long Dokalam standoff last year.

The famous Ea st Lake where the two leaders would spend most of the time was a favourite holiday spot for Mao. The picturesque garden adjacent to the mighty Yangtze river is also where Mao used to enjoy his favourite pastime swimming.

The place has iconic holiday villa of Mao, which is now a memorial where Xi is expected to take Modi round.

At the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad and its surroundings, Modi was Xi's guide to introduce the essence of Gandhian thought, including his iconic Charkha where the Chinese leader, who has emerged as the powerful leader of the country with an unlimited tenure, tried his hand to operate Gandhiji's most cherished symbol.

It is now Xi's turn at Wuhan.

The details of the informal summit was not disclosed but officials said it included walks by the two leaders in the East Lake where they will have a boat ride and take walks just accompanied by their translators.

In a pre-departure statement, Prime Minister Modi said he and President Xi will review the developments in Sino-Indian relations from a strategic and long-term perspective.

"President Xi and I will exchange views on a range of issues of bilateral and global importance. We will discuss our respective visions and priorities for national development, particularly in the context of current and future international situation," Modi said.

Modi will have relaxed meetings with Xi tomorrow and the day after, which officials say could become a game-changer if they manage to reach consensus on finding the solution to the problems, including the way forward to resolve the boundary dispute and other vexed issues that bedevilled the ties.

Ahead of the summit, China said the arrangements being made for Modi's stay in Wuhan would go beyond the expectations of the Indian side and the informal summit could be a new starting point.

"This kind of one-on-one is not often seen in other countries," Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou told the media this week.

"The two leaders will spend two days in Wuhan. In these two days, they will engage with each other on various forums. What I can tell you is that they will spend a lot of time together one-on-one," he said.

The two leaders will have strategic communication on the major changes in the international landscape unseen in more than 100 years, Kong said in an apparent reference to major changes taking place following US President Donald Trump's aggressive 'America First' policy threatening to undermine the process of globalisation under which India and China are the biggest beneficiaries.

They will have in-depth exchange of views on the issues of overarching long-term and strategic importance in the bilateral relations, Kong said.

Conceived on the lines of the 1988 ice-breaking visit to China undertaken by the then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and his far-reaching talks with China's paramount leader Deng Xiaoping setting a new tone for the relations post-1962 war, Xi-Modi dialogue at Wuhan was aimed at a working a new paradigm for the bilateral relations for the next 15 years, Indian officials said.

It is a leadership driven summit providing a leadership driven direction and a way forward to more stable bilateral ties, they added.

This will be fourth visit of Modi to China after he came to power in 2014. He is again due to visit China to take part in the SCO summit to be held at Qingdao city on June 9-10.

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Modi's personal touch to diplomacy furthers Indian interests worldwide

Modi's personal touch to diplomacy furthers Indian interests worldwideBy Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury, ET Bureau|Apr 26, 2018, 10.16 PM IST

narendra-modi-PTI
The PM's diplomatic gestures have been reciprocated during his travels to various countries.

ETPrimeWe rummaged through some Fortis files. What we found isn’t pretty.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s informal summit with China’s President Xi Jinping in Wuhan on April 27-28 is yet another example of harnessing the personal touch in diplomacy to further India’s interests and stre ngthen relations with the world at large.
Even as Gujarat’s chief minister, he was known for his personal style of diplomacy: His strong friendship with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe dates back to his days in Gandhinagar. That friendship was to pay rich dividends when Modi became Prime Minister several years later. It helped secure concessional financing for his dream project â€" the bullet train - and the civilian nuclear deal.
It, therefore, came as no surprise when at his swearing-in on May 26, 2014, Modi took the bold step of inviting all the leaders of SAARC countries, setting the stage for a new sort of diplomacy that has left its mark in his external dealings in the past four years. Among his initiatives is to host the world leaders outside Delhi.
The prime minister is of the view that this allows them to get a perspective of the vastness and diversity of India, while offering different states a first-hand opportunity to pitch their strengths directly t o foreign dignitaries. It complements Modi’s policy of competitive federalism.
The Wuhan visit will be the first time that an Indian Prime Minister is attending an informal summit shorn of protocol - and outside the national capital. It is, perhaps, also a first for the President of China in his own country. Their interaction thus provides a new format for diplomacy at the highest level which could become the diplomatic norm in the future.
Xi Jinping was, co-incidentally, the first foreign leader with whom Modi travelled to Gujarat. Later, the premiers of Japan and Israel, the chancellor of Germany and the president of France accompanied Modi to various parts of India, and these visits have helped promote India's diplomatic, national security and economic interests, according to people who have followed Modi's diplomatic style closely. In Wuhan, Modi and Xi are expected to visit a museum together on Friday and take a boat ride on the East Lake Saturday mornin g.
The PM's diplomatic gestures have been reciprocated during his travels to various countries. His visit to the Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington along with the then President Obama, as well as his boat trip on the river Seine in Paris with the then French President Hollande set the platform for a free exchange of views, free from protocol.
The Sri Lankan leadership has accompanied him to Kandy and Jaffna. He persuaded Prime Minister Najib of Malaysia and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore to accompany him to the Indian quarter in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, to highlight the contributions of the Indian communities in their nation building. He made the point of going with Netanyahu to the Agricultural Centre for Excellence for Vegetables and Fruits jointly set up in Gujarat as a way of demonstrating that diplomacy must translate into people-centric programmes. Perhaps, his most dramatic gesture was his decision to visit Lahore in December 2015 in an effort to build relations with Pakistan.
Modi also goes the extra mile to associate his visitors with his own vision and national programmes, as he showed recently by accompanying French President Macron to remote Mirzapur district in eastern Uttar Pradesh to jointly inaugurate a solar power facility, just days after he had successfully hosted the Founding Conference of the International Solar Alliance in New Delhi in March. The ISA is now being seen as, perhaps, the only tangible outcome of the Paris Conference on Climate Change, and received favourable mention from foreign leaders at the CHOGM meeting in London earlier this month. Noteworthy too is the presence of several foreign leaders including, most recently, the Prime Minister of Sweden, as well as others like the President of Kenya and the former Prime Minister of the UK, at diaspora gatherings during his visits abroad.
That his personal style is a diplomatic asset was evident in his recent visits to the Gulf cou ntries. During his visit to Abu Dhabi, the Crown Prince accompanied by his five brothers received the Prime Minister at the airport, a rare honour for any visiting dignitary. The King of Jordan offered his personal helicopter for Modi’s visit to Palestine. The advancement of national objectives and interests during these visits, including the clear demonstration of India’s continued commitment to the cause of Palestine, and the first strategic acquisition of oil fields in the Gulf, were thus facilitated by the personal friendship that he has assiduously cultivated with leaders of West Asia and the Gulf.
The PM has also increasingly worked the phones to strengthen ties with key leaders including Presidents Trump, Putin (three times since January) and Xi. He has not hesitated to call his counterparts in seeking their support in securing interests in multilateral fora and obtaining membership of export control regimes like the MTCR, the Wassenaar Arrangement and the Australia Group. His individual efforts at convincing leaders also yielded positive results during the fiercely contested ICJ elections, according to people familiar with the matter. In the information age, when news travels at the speed of light and developments call for prompt action, his personal style is to modernize the practice of diplomacy to meet the demands of the 21st century.
Bilateral, global issues to be discussed during meet: Modi
In his departure statement on Thursday evening, PM Modi said: "President Xi and I will exchange views on a range of issues of bilateral and global importance. We will discuss our respective visions and priorities for national development, particularly in the context of current and future international situation. We will also review the developments in the India-China relations from a strategic and long-term perspective."
Read more onNarendra Modiinformal summitSAARC countriesWuhanChinaXi JinpingIndia

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