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What to expect from the historic Korea border summit

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What to expect from the historic Korea border summit

People hold hands as they wear masks of South Korea's President Moon Jae-in
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REUTERS/Jorge Silva
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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is preparing to make a historic trip across the border on Friday to meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in for a highly-anticipated summit.

It will mark the first time that a North Korean leader has crossed into South Korean territory since the end of the Korean War in 1953, and the first summit between the two sides in more than a decade.

But what can we expect from the meeting?

Where and when?

South Korea said Moon would personally meet Kim at the border at 9.30 am local time (1.30 am CET) on Friday.

South Korean honour guards will then escort the leaders to a welcome ceremony at a plaza in the border village of Panmunjom.

Official dialogue between Kim and Moon will begin at 10.30 am (2.30 am CET) at the Peace Palace.

Who is attending?

Kim will be accompanied by nine officials, including his sister, Kim Yo Jong, and North Korea’s nominal head of state Kim Yong Jam.

Other significant figures attending the meeting include former intelligence chief Kim Yong Chol, Defence Minister Pak Yong Sik, Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, and Ri Myong Su, the chief of the general staff of the Korean People’s Army.

South Korea’s delegation is made up of seven officials, including the ministers of defence, foreign affairs and unification.

What will they talk about?

The summit will focus on denuclearization and securing permanent peace, South Korea’s presidential chief of staff Im Jong-seok told a media briefing.

“I feel North Korea is sending their key military officials to the summit as they too, believe denuclearization and peace are important,” Im said.

What else will they do?

The two leaders are set to hold an afternoon tree-planting ceremony following the first round of talks.

A pine tree will be be planted along the demarcation line to symbolise “peace and prosperity” using soil and water from both the North and South, according to Seoul.

Moon and Kim are then expected to take a walk together in Panmunjom before beginning the next round of talks.

At the end of the day, Seoul said the leaders are expected to sign a pact and make an announcement.

They will then have dinner in the South, which will include the Swiss fried potato dish rösti, cold noodles and a North Korean liqueur.

After dinner, the two delegations will watch a video called “Spring of One” before Kim heads home.