Speed Reads


North and South Korea agree to a top-level summit, denuclearization talks with the U.S.

A 10-member delegation from South Korea returned from a short trip to Pyongyang on Tuesday with an agreement for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in to meet in April, set up a telephone hotline between the two leaders, and put North Korean denuclearization on the table for discussion, South Korean national security director Chung Eui-yong announced in Seoul. Chung led the delegation, the first South Korean officials to meet Kim. Kim hosted the group for dinner Monday night along with his sister, Kim Yo Jong, and in a rare appearance, his wife, Ri Sol Ju.

Chung said North Korea had indicated it is ready for a "heart-to-heart" with Washington on everything from normalizing relationships and denuclearization, The Associated Press reports. He added that Pyongyang said it did not need nuclear weapons if the U.S. withdrew all military threats and would not attack South Korea with nukes or conventional weapons. North Korea has promised to freeze its nuclear program before and reneged, BBC News notes. The U.S. said it is "cautiously optimistic" about the North-South thaw. South Korean officials will head to Washington next to brief U.S. lawmakers on the rare meeting with North Korean leaders.