SEOUL - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will walk across the Demilitarised Zone on Friday (April 27) for a historic summit with the South's President Moon Jae In, the highest-level encounter yet in a whirlwind of nuclear diplomacy.
Pyongyang's atomic arsenal will be high on the agenda the first time one of its rulers sets foot in the South since the Korean War ended 65 years ago, and a peace treaty to formally end the conflict could also be discussed.
The meeting on the southern side of the truce village of Panmunjom - only the third of its kind after two in Pyongyang, the last 11 years ago - is intended to pave the way for a highly anticipated encounter between Kim and US President Donald Trump.
It comes after a rapid and spectacular diplomatic dance on the peninsula, orchestrated by Moon and set to the beat of the Winter Olympics in the South.
Kim sent a delegation headed by his sister to the Games and offered to put denuclearisation on the table in exchange for security guarantees. Trump accepted his proposal for a summit, and Kim went to Beijing to pay his respects to ally China in his first overseas trip as leader.
It is a stunning contrast from last year, when Pyongyang carried out its sixth and by far most powerful nuclear test to date and launched missiles capable of reaching the US mainland, while Kim and Trump traded personal insults and threats of war.
The UN Security Council imposed several more sets of sanctions on the North, including measures targeting its crucial coal, fishing and textiles sectors, along with oil imports.
Washington is demanding Pyongyang give up the weapons it has spent decades developing and says it needs to protect itself from a US invasion.
At the weekend Pyongyang announced a moratorium on nuclear tests and intercontinental ballistic missile launches, with Kim saying it had completed its goal.
It made no further commitments, but that did not stop Trump tweeting: "We haven't given up anything & they have agreed to denuclearisation (so great for World), site closure, & no more testing!"