SEOUL – South Korea and the United States are looking for a way to guarantee North Korea a "bright future" if its leader Kim Jong Un abandons its nuclear weapons program, said the National Security Advisor in Seoul Wednesday while preparations for gain momentum next week's inter-Korean summit.
The mood in South Korea has changed dramatically in just a few months, from the perceptible fear of another Korean war to the cautious optimism that has fueled decades of conflict on the peninsula.
The central square in front of the Seoul City Hall was planted with flowers in the shape of a unified Korean peninsula, the news stations have started a countdown to the summit next Friday and the government has formulated a slogan: "Peace, a new beginning." Twitter even has a high-five emoji to go with an inter-Korean summit hashtag.
The latest sign of Kim's willingness to cooperate came on Wednesday, when the summit officials explained that North Korea had agreed to broadcast important moments live. This will include the handshake between Kim and South Korea's Moon Jae-in at the start of next Friday's talks, a spokesman for the president of the Blue House said after talks at the working level on Wednesday.
The meeting will serve as a prelude to the summit that President Trump plans with Kim in late May or early June, in a place yet to be decided.
Trump has confirmed that Mike Pompeo, head of the CIA and a foreign minister candidate, visited Pyongyang earlier this month and met Kim as part of the preparations. This is the highest-level meeting between the United States and North Korea since then ̵
"Mike Pompeo met with Kim Jong Un in North Korea last week," Trump tweeted Wednesday morning. "The meeting went smoothly and a good relationship was established, details of the summit are now being worked out, denuclearization will be a big deal for the world, but also for North Korea!"
Trump, who is proud to be one Being a negotiator, but also a lover of the limelight, has the prospect of convincing Kim to abandon his nuclear weapons weapons program
This is a target that US negotiators have been missing for more than two decades, and many analysts are skeptical that the young North Korean leader, who put so much money and effort into the program, will easily give it up. 19659010] [ CIA Director Pompeo made a top secret visit to the North Korean leader weeks ago ]
But the South Korean government is promoting the upcoming summits as an opportunity to give it a try.
"We have consistently sought to peacefully improve inter-Korean relations, particularly the North Korean nuclear issue and the de-nuclearization of the peninsula, with the goal of peace in the Korean peninsula," said Chung Eui-yong, the South Korean National adviser who met both Kim and Trump to arrange the summits.
Chung said Wednesday that South Korea would work to guarantee North Korea's security and the regime's "bright future" while convincing it to give up its nuclear weapons. He reiterated South Korea's "gratitude" for Trump's efforts to make progress on this issue, though he warned against "blind optimism" given the scale of the problem.
The two Koreas were last in a technical state of war Six decades, because the Korean War ended in 1953 in a ceasefire and not in a peace treaty. The Ceasefire Agreement, negotiated in the same place in the demilitarized zone where Kim and Moon will meet next week, was signed by the United States on behalf of the United Nations and North Korea and China on the other side
Regime has put the country on a war footing and maintained the anti-American sentiment all the while as part of its propaganda propaganda ongoing rule. For this reason, North Korea has needed nuclear weapons to defend itself against "hostile" USA.
During the last inter-Korean summit in 2007, the two sides discussed cessation of the ceasefire but made no progress towards a peace treaty
Any peace treaty must necessarily include the United States and can come with a North Korean insistence on US troops the southern half of the peninsula are no longer needed.
"Pyongyang has signaled Washington's readiness to work towards denuclearization, although it still does not agree with Washington on concrete steps to achieve that goal," said Koh Yu-hwan, a professor of North Korean studies at Dongkuk University in Seoul and one of the experts advises negotiators.
The withdrawal of US forces from the Korean Peninsula was one of the five preconditions for denuclearization that North Korea had proposed in a 2016 declaration.
"At this point, however, Kim Jong Un does not seem to be the immediate condition for talks," Koh said.
South Korea rides a lot on the summits.
At the end of last year, there were widespread fears that Trump was serious about launching military strikes against North Korea to end his nuclear weapons program, which would endanger Seoul. The entire capital city region, home to 25 million people, is within easy reach of North Korea's conventional artillery.
But Moon, a progressive advocate for the North, has worked diligently to make diplomacy a better approach.
He used the Winter Olympics that South Korea hosted in February to invite high-ranking North Koreans, including the leader's influential sister, south. And he did not hesitate to praise Trump and pay him tribute for bringing North Korea's heart.
The President's Blue House frantically prepares the meeting. Led by Moons chief of staff at Jong-seok, she has set up a summit preparation committee that was closely involved in the two previous inter-Korean summits.
It has also formed two advisory committees, which include about 50 experts for the North Korea. They provide the organizers of the summit with regular information about their areas of expertise, according to several members of the committees.
A hotline between the two leaders – a first – is expected to take place next Friday. It is expected that Moon and Kim will receive their first call before meeting in "Peace House," a large, four-story building just above the southern side of the line that has shared the two Koreas for more than six decades. Kim will be the first North Korean leader to come south since the Korean War.
Moons two progressive predecessors held both summits with then North Korean leader, Kim Jong Us Father, but both traveled to Pyongyang to meet him.
As part of the preparations for the summit, South Korea is renewing the "Peace House" in the village of Panmunjeom in the demilitarized zone, the site of the 1953 Armistice Agreement to end the Korean War.  The government is renovating the room on the second floor, where Moon and Kim will meet, and refurbishing a room on the third floor, which according to local reports, can be used as a banquet hall.
A newspaper Kukmin Ilbo reported that the building had bullet-proof glass panels and technology in place to prevent the rooms from being intercepted.
The village, about 35 miles north of Seoul, is a symbol of the conflict with soldiers from both Koreas who speak the same language and share the same culture – literally every day.
It's also the place where American political leaders stare at North Korea. Vice President Pence went there for the North Koreans to see the "determination" in his eyes, but Trump's plan to visit him in November was hampered by bad weather.
It is also speculated that there will be a banquet after the meeting first ladies are allowed to join
Kim's wife, Ri Sol Ju, has gained more and more prominence in recent weeks, meeting with the South Korean envoy for dinner in Pyongyang, traveled with Kim to a summit in Beijing and hosted a Chinese delegation over the weekend.
In a jolly coincidence, Moons wife Kim Jung-sook – the same name as Kim Jong calls us grandmother, a woman who is a North Korean cult of personality as a revolutionary martyr and mother of the nation.
Min Joo Kim contributed to this report.