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Korean presidents meet for second-ever summit in Pyongyang

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The president of North Korea has met his South Korean counterpart, who arrived in Pyongyang Tuesday for a three-day summit, the first time a South Korean leader has been in the Communist state since 2000.
MOSCOW/TOKYO, October 2 (RIA Novosti) - The president of North Korea has met his South Korean counterpart, who arrived in Pyongyang Tuesday for a three-day summit, the first time a South Korean leader has been in the Communist state since 2000.

Earlier in the day South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun stepped across a yellow line in the demilitarized zone, which officially divides the two countries, to meet with his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong-il. The previous South Korean leader flew to the capital of North Korea by plane in 2000.

Prior to the visit Roh Moo-hyun said that a treaty to formally end the Korean war will be the focus of the summit.

After the 1950-53 war, in which North Korea, supported by China and the Soviet Union, fought South Korea, backed primarily by the United States and its western allies, the sides declared a ceasefire but did not sign a peace treaty, meaning that they remain technically at war.

"The declaration of the end of the Korean War and a peace treaty are the core agenda items of the inter-Korean summit talks," Seoul's Yonhap agency cited the South Korean president as saying in September.

The visit comes as envoys of six nations held a new round of talks on North Korea's denuclearization in Beijing. The United States, China, Russia, Japan, and the two Koreas took a two-day break on Sunday to discuss a draft statement on the shutting down of the country's nuclear facilities in exchange for aid.

Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura said Tuesday Japan hoped that the summit will help to settle the issue of North Korea's denuclearization.

"We would like that it [the summit] will contribute to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and establishment of peace and security in the region," the Japanese minister said.

North Korea, which tested a nuclear bomb last October, closed down its main nuclear reactor in July under the February six-party deal. The impoverished state has already been provided with 50,000 metric tons of fuel oil and is to receive about the same amount for its thermal power plants.

Komura said also he hoped that the South Korean leader will raise the issue on the abduction of Japanese nationals as well.

Tokyo is demanding the return of its citizens abducted in the 1970s-80s. Pyongyang has acknowledged that it kidnapped 13 Japanese citizens, and has subsequently sent five of them home, but insists that the rest are dead.

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