Koreas to hold high-level talks on Aug. 13

Aug 10, 2018, 08:35 am

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President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un talk during a banquet at the border village of Panmunjom in South Korea on April 27./ Source: Yonhap News

By AsiaToday reporter Heo Go-woon

South and North Korea agreed Thursday to hold high-level talks on Aug. 13 at the border village of Panmunjom. They are likely to review implementation of the April 27 Panmunjom Declaration and discuss preparations for a new meeting between their leaders. In addition to declaring an end of the Korean War among the two Koreas, the United States and China, the issue of concluding a peace treaty is also expected to be the main agenda item. It is a matter of utmost concern to what extent the two Koreas will reach consensus in order to deliver "liberation day message" at the high-level talks to be held two days ahead of the 73rd anniversary of the National Liberation Day.

The high-level talks, which will be the fourth of its kind if held, was quickly scheduled after the North sent a message on Thursday proposing the meeting and the South later accepting the offer. Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon is expected to lead the South Korean delegation, as he did at the last such meeting in June, while the North's delegation is likely to be led by Ri Son-kwon, chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland. 

"Through the upcoming high-level talks, the two sides will have in-depth discussion on ways to facilitate the implementation of the Panmunjom Declaration and exchange views on things needed to successfully hold an inter-Korean summit," the ministry said. In the Panmunjom Declaration, the two sides agreed that President Moon Jae-in to visit Pyongyang this autumn.

If an inter-Korean summit is held, it is likely to be held before the UN General Assembly in late September. In order for the leaders of the two Koreas, the United States and China to meet at the UN General Assembly to declare an end of the Korean War, the leaders of the two Koreas should coordinate first. Many speculate that another inter-Korean summit to facilitate the denuclearization process of the Korean Peninsula might be held at the end of this month. 

Little progress has been made on the key issue of the North's denuclearization. North Korea wants an early end of the Korean War and a lift of sanctions against the country while the United States wants that the North should intensify its denuclearization efforts. For President Moon Jae-in, the high-level meeting is likely to be a good opportunity to play a role as a mediator among the two Koreas, the United States and China. "The U.S. government might consider a summit with North Korea in order to create synergy with the November elections," said Jeong Young-tae, director of the North Korea Research Institute. "If another inter-Korean summit is held, it will lay groundwork for the new U.S.-North Korea summit," he said. 

The government is expected to prepare a mediation plan that will satisfy all the four sides after coordinating with the United States before the high-level talks take place. 

The unification ministry said the government will make best efforts to speedily implement the Panmunjom Declaration via continued dialogue and cooperation, while pursuing a sustainable development in inter-Korean relations and building a permanent peace regime on the peninsula.

#high-level talks #Koreas #Panmunjom Declaration #April 27 #inter-Korean summit 
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