Kim Jong Un won't be taking any chances Friday when the North Korean leader crosses the border for a historic summit with his counterpart in the South. Apparently that means bringing along his own toilet. Accompanied by his sister, Kim Yo Jong, top military officials, and armed soldiers from the North Korean Guard Command, Kim will bring "a personal toilet that follows him around when he travels," a former NKGC official tells the Washington Post. "The leader's excretions contain information about his health status so they can't be left behind." More details:
- For the world to see: The summit will include a live broadcast of Kim crossing the military demarcation line for a meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in around 9:30am local time, which is 8:30pm Eastern Thursday. Official talks kick off about an hour later at the Peace House in the village of Panmunjom, located inside the demilitarized zone that separates the two countries, per the BBC.
- A first: Kim is the first leader from the North to cross the border. His father, Kim Jong Il, hosted South Korea's government in Pyongyang in 2000 and 2007, but this marks the South's first hosting of such talks. It is Kim's second known meeting with another head of state, after a visit with China's Xi Jinping last month, per the Guardian.
- Precise planning: Everything from a tree planting (using soil and water from both North and South Korea) to the distance between the leaders during talks (2,018 millimeters, or a little less than 80 inches, to mark the year) has been carefully planned, per the Post.
- The agenda: Denuclearization will be the primary topic, along with terms for a peace deal to officially end their war, the BBC reports. Depending how things go, a meeting between Kim and President Trump could follow in May or June, perhaps with more concrete results.
- Kim's aims: Experts weigh in at Time, with one noting Kim has "a lot of leverage" given advances in the North's nuclear missile capabilities. At the Post, some wonder whether he's only playing the diplomat to get economic sanctions against the North lifted.
- Moon could win big: He campaigned on improving relations with North Korea, and only a year into his term, the South Korean president could pull off a huge, early victory if all goes well. Editors at Bloomberg, however, fear he may be "too eager."
- Cautious optimism: Recalling his meetings with Kim and Moon regarding North Korea's participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics, International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach makes a case for "cautious optimism" at the Independent.
Controversy already surrounds a summit dessert
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