Former South Korean president to visit Pyongyang next month

The Koreas agreed Wednesday that former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung will visit the North Korean capital in late June, the Unification Ministry said. It will be Kim's second trip to North Korea . During his first trip in 2000 as the South's president, he held an unprecedented summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong II.

Officials from the two Koreas , meeting at the scenic Diamond Mountain in North Korea , agreed that Kim's trip will be four days and that the exact dates will be fixed later, according to a ministry official who requested not to be identified. "The North side said it agrees, and welcomes former President Kim's visit to the North and would receive him with full courtesy," the official said.

Kim, 80, has expressed hopes to travel by train, using one of the two reconnected cross-border railways, a key symbol of inter-Korean detente touched off by his 2000 summit.

The South delivered Kim's wish to the North during the talks, but the North proposed Kim fly via a direct air route, the ministry official said. Kim's trip comes amid an international standoff over North Korea 's nuclear program. In Pyongyang , he is widely expected to hold a meeting with the North's reclusive leader amid speculation that their one-on-one meeting might help lead to a breakthrough in stalled nuclear talks.

At the 2000 summit, the North Korean leader promised to pay a return visit to South Korea , but has not yet honored that pledge. The two Koreas technically remain in a state of conflict as the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty. But their relations have warmed significantly, reports the AP.

N.U.