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There Appears To Be A Breakthrough In North-South Korea Talks

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Sounds like a breakthrough on the Korean Peninsula. We stress, it sounds that way. We have heard signs of peace before there. But here's the news. North Korea agreed to a temporary freeze of its illicit nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, this after a trip by South Korean envoys to Pyongyang. NPR's Elise Hu reports from Seoul.

ELISE HU, BYLINE: South Korea's president sent the country's spy chief and head of national security to Pyongyang for a two-day trip. They came back this morning with an unexpected agreement from North Korea's Kim Jong Un. In a joint statement, North and South Korea agreed not only to have a summit between the two countries' heads of state next month at the border village of Panmunjom but North Korea said it sees no reason to have nuclear weapons if its security was guaranteed and the regime wasn't threatened.

It further said it would be willing to hold talks with the United States over its nuclear and missile programs. South Korea calls this a breakthrough that could ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula. But the details will require far more diplomacy in the coming weeks. The South Korean team that just met with Kim will head next to Washington to brief the Trump administration on their progress.

Elise Hu, NPR News, Seoul. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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