North and South Korea agreed on Monday to hold a summit in the North in September, another step towards boosting cooperation between the old rivals, even as doubts grow over efforts to end the North's nuclear weapons program.
Officials from both sides meeting in the truce village of Panmunjom, in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) that separates the two Koreas, reached an agreement on a September summit between the countries leaders in the North's capital of Pyongyang.
At the end of the meeting, Ri Son Gwon, the chairman of a North Korean committee aiming for the "peaceful reunification" of the peninsula, told his South Korean counterpart, Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon, it was important to clear "obstacles" preventing inter-Korean relations from moving forward.
No date was announced for what will be the third meeting this year between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
They first met in April in Panmunjom, a remarkable thaw in ties after more than a year of rising tension and fears of war over the North's development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.
The breakthrough was achieved in recent months between the two countries when North Korea sent athletes and sports teams to the Winter Olympics in South Korea earlier this year which then resulted in meetings between senior officials from both nations.
Moon and Kim agreed during their first summit in May to push for a declaration of an end to the Korean War together with the United States this year, but Washington has said it would only be possible after the North abandons its nuclear program.
Kim has, in fact, said he was willing to end his country’s nuclear arms program in return for the end of sanctions and guarantees of peace from the United States, South Korea and the international community.