North, South Korea set to hold talks ahead of major summit

North Korea responded to a request for high-level talks ahead of the 2018 Inter-Korean Summit on Saturday, saying they will send a delegation next week to plan for the major summit.

The South Korea Unification Ministry said the North had responded to an inquiry made through the Panmunjeom communications channel and would be sending a delegation led by Ri Son Gwon, chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country. Ri was part of the North’s delegation which attended the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang last month. He attended the games along with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong.

North Korea said it will put “its utmost efforts” into preparing for the Inter-Korean Summit through the high-level talks at Tongilgak, Panmunjeom, on March 29, according to the Unification Ministry.

The Inter-Korean Summit is set to be held in April with both South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim in attendance. The talks on March 29 will be held to prepare for that historic summit.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s proposed meeting with Kim is still up in the air. Trump said in early March he would meet with Kim by May to discuss denuclearization by the isolated nation. But a date has yet to be set for the meeting, and a location is unknown as well.

Moon proposed a summit between the U.S., South Korea and North Korea earlier this week to be held following the separate talks between the North and South, and then Kim and Trump.

“Holding a North Korea-U.S. summit following a South-North Korea summit itself is a historical event. And depending on their outcomes, they may lead to a three-way summit of South, North and U.S.,” Moon said Wednesday, noting that “it could be even more dramatic” depending on the progress during the planning stage.

ABC News’ Joohee Cho contributed to this report from Seoul.

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