SEOUL, April 25 (Xinhua) -- The world's spotlight has been cast on Panmunjom, the truce village bordering South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), where leaders from the two sides will meet on Friday for the first inter-Korean summit in 11 years.
The ice-breaking summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and top DPRK leader Kim Jong Un will take place amid recent signs of a detente following years of tensions over the DPRK's nuclear and missile tests.
WHEN AND WHERE
The summit will be held on April 27 at the Peace House, a dialogue venue located on the South Korean side of Panmunjom.
An agreement to hold the summit was reached on March 29 during a high-level dialogue between the two sides at Tongilgak, the DPRK's talk venue in Panmunjom.
It will be the third inter-Korean summit following previous two summits held in Pyongyang in 2000 and 2007, respectively.
Panmunjom was the place where the Korean Armistice Agreement that paused the Korean War was signed in 1953. Today, the name of the truce village is often used as a metonym for the nearby Joint Security Area.
The Joint Security Area is the only portion of the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) where North and South Korean forces stand face-to-face.
Soldiers from the two sides were placed at the Joint Security Area between blue meeting houses that straddle the military demarcation line.
The DMZ is a strip of land established by the provisions of the armistice agreement and serves as a buffer zone between the two Koreas.
The DMZ runs roughly along the 38th parallel north and is about 250 km long and about 4 km wide.
If the summit were held as planned, Kim would become the country's first leader to set foot on South Korean soil after the Korean War although the distance between the demarcation line and the Peace House is only several hundred meters.
According to the Blue House press center, the two leaders will make a historic first encounter early Friday, before holding a summit meeting and a welcome banquet.
Kim is expected to walk cross the military demarcation line marked by a low concrete slab, where he will be greeted by Moon before entering the Peace House.
Based on a shared view that the April summit will have a significant, historical meaning in denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, settling peace on the peninsula and developing inter-Korean relations, South Korea and the DPRK agreed to strive to make the summit a success, South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon told the press following the high-level dialogue in March.
Observers say the inter-Korean summit will lay the groundwork for the planned talks between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump which is expected to take place in May or early June.