North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will visit South Korean capital Seoul for a historic meeting with his counterpart Moon Jae-in. The landmark meeting will take place on March 1, a key date, rich in symbolism, for the two Korean states.
The meeting, if it takes place, will see the culmination of the historic peace process initiated by a landmark meeting between US President Donald Trump and Kim in Singapore in June last year.
Since then, the leaders of the two Koreas met three times, twice at the border and once in the North Korean capital. On December 30, Kim said he would meet his South Korean counterpart multiple times during 2019.
Citing a high-ranking government official, the Seoul Daily reported the meeting will be held on March 1, according to the Asia Times.
A North Korean leader has never set foot on the South Korean soil ever since the Korean war separated the North and South in a bitter divorce in the 50s.
Though the two sides haven't made much headway in implementing the decisions taken at the Singapore summit and subsequent meetings, the Trump initiative will go down in history as a success if the two leaders do meet in the South Korean capital.
More than the meeting itself, the date of it is of greater importance to Koreans on both sides of the divide. March 1, 1919 went down in Korean history as the day when the people rose up against the Japanese occupation and demanded independence.
A meeting of Moon and Kim on March 1 will certainly evoke the reunification theme, besides preserving the momentum in ties that came about during the Singapore summit facilitated by Trump.
Denuclearization and bilateral ties
Whether the historic summit takes place or not depends on the outcome of series of key high level meetings between the US and North Korea that will take place in the coming weeks.
The Washington-Pyongyang summit will address pending issues such as denuclearization and the improvement in relations between South and North Koreas.
If the two sides make headway, the March 1 meeting between Kim and Moon in Seoul will become a reality.
There were rumours about North Korea's founder Kim Il Sung, grandfather of current ruler Kim Jong-un, having visited Soul in the early 50s. However, there is no confirmation that such a meeting ever took place. What is doubtless is that the relations between the two sides never improved since then.