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Amid Friction With The U.S., North Korea Sets A Summit With The South

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

All right, South Korea's president, Moon Jae-in, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are going to be meeting for another summit. This comes amid growing friction between the United States and North Korea. NPR's Michael Sullivan has more from Seoul.

MICHAEL SULLIVAN, BYLINE: In a joint statement, the North and the South said the third summit between their two leaders would be held in September in the North Korean capital, Pyongyang. The agreement, reached after senior representatives from both sides met today at the peace village of Panmunjom, did not specify a date for that meeting, but officials from both sides seemed upbeat.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

RI SON GWON: (Foreign language spoken).

SULLIVAN: "South and North, North and South have become very close friends," said Ri Son Gwon, chairman of the North's reunification committee, adding, "now is the time for us to walk forward hand in hand," though he warned some issues remained unresolved. The leader of the South Korean delegation, Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon, was also upbeat.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CHO MYOUNG-GYON: (Foreign language spoken).

SULLIVAN: "I've heard that North Korea has a saying, those aboard the same ship share the same mind," he said, adding, "it's very important for us to move forward with the same mind." The conciliatory statements from both sides were in sharp contrast to the harsh words that have been coming out of both Washington and Pyongyang the past week, officials from both sides accusing the other of intransigence in implementing the agreement reached by President Trump and Kim Jong Un in Singapore just two months ago. Washington wants tangible steps toward denuclearization, and so far, administration officials are saying, that's not happening. For its part, North Korea wants an easing of sanctions and an official declaration of the end of the Korean War. North Korea's state-run Rodong Sinmun on Thursday called such a declaration a necessary first step toward fulfillment of that deal. Neither side appears willing to budge. Only the two Koreas seem to be in a conciliatory mood - for now. Michael Sullivan, NPR News, Seoul.

(SOUNDBITE OF L'INDECIS' "STAYING THERE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.