North Korea has agreed to meet South Korean officials at the end of this month to prepare for the inter-Korean summit later in April, South’s Unification Ministry says.
The summit aims to improve relations and resolve the standoff over the North’s nuclear program.
Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon will lead the South’s delegation at the March 29 meeting at the border village of Panmunjom.
The Koreas agreed to a summit in late April when South Korea President Moon Jae-in’s envoys visited North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang earlier this month.
South Korean officials also brokered a potential meeting between Mr Kim and President Donald Trump by the end of May.
The leaders of the two Koreas have held talks only twice since the 1950-53 Korean War.
It is unclear whether the leaders’ meetings between Seoul, Pyongyang and Washington, if they take place, could lead to any meaningful breakthrough after an unusually provocative year.
North Korea in 2017 tested its most powerful nuclear weapon to date and test-launched three intercontinental ballistic missiles theoretically capable of striking the US mainland.
There are also concerns in South Korea over whether the appointment of John Bolton, Mr Trump’s replacement for national security adviser HR McMaster, could potentially complicate efforts to set up talks between Mr Trump and Mr Kim — given his past rhetoric about North Korea.
A South Korean presidential official, who did not want to be named, citing office rules, downplayed such worries, saying that Mr Trump remains firmly committed to the summit and is leading the drive to set it up.