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Kim Jong Un will walk across border for summit with Moon

South Koreans pose for the media as they hold a banner showing the pictures of South Korean president Moon Jae-in, left, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to welcome the planned summit between South and North Koreas near the presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea. Picture by Lee Jin-man, Associated Press
Hyung-Jin Kim, Associated Press

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean president Moon-Jae-in will plant a commemorative tree and inspect an honour guard together after Mr Kim walks across the border for their historic summit, Seoul officials said.

The talks on the southern side of the border village of Panmunjom are expected to focus on North Korea's nuclear programme, but there will be plenty of symbolism when Mr Kim becomes the first North Korean leader to be in the southern section of the border since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.

Mr Moon will receive Mr Kim after he crosses the concrete slabs that form the rivals' military demarcation line on Friday morning.

They will then walk together for about 10 minutes to a plaza where they will inspect a South Korean honour guard, Mr Moon's chief of staff Im Jong-seok told reporters.

After signing the guestbook and taking a photo together at Peace House, the venue for Friday's summit, the two leaders will start formal talks.

They will later plant a pine tree on the border using a mixture of soil from both counties' mountains and water from their respective rivers.

The tree, which is beloved by both Koreas, dates to 1953, the year the war ended, Mr Im said.

Engraved on the stone plaque for the tree will be the phrase, "Peace and Prosperity Are Planted," as well as the signatures of the leaders.

After the tree-planting, the two plan to stroll together to a footbridge where a signpost for the military demarcation line stands, Mr Im said.

The leaders will meet again in the afternoon and later attend a banquet, he added.

Mr Im said Mr Kim is to be accompanied by nine top North Korean officials, including his influential sister, Kim Yo Jong. He said South Korea hopes Mr Kim's wife, Ri Sol Ju, will attend parts of Friday's summit, but Ms Ri's attendance has not been agreed to yet.

It is also not clear how the leaders will announce the results of the summit. The most difficult part, Mr Im said, centres on North Korea's level of denuclearisation commitment.

Friday's summit and Mr Kim's planned meeting with President Donald Trump in May or early June were arranged after Mr Kim recently expressed a wiliness to put his nuclear programme up for negotiation after a year of nuclear and missile tests.

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