Koreas to hold high-level talks today

Aug 13, 2018, 10:05 am

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South Korean President Moon Jae-in is greeted by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a summit at the truce village of Panmunjom, North Korea, May 26./ Provided by Cheong Wa Dae

By AsiaToday reporter Heo Go-woon

South and North Korea will hold a high-level meeting at Panmunjom on Monday. This meeting will be the fourth of its kind this year. The two Koreas are expected to discuss holding the third inter-Korean summit of the Moon Jae-in government and seek ways to formally end the Korean War. 

The high-level talks will be held amid little progress between Pyongyang and Washington on denuclearization. The North is pressuring to declare an end of the Korean War, while the United States is demanding complete, verifiable denuclearization and says it will maintain sanctions until that happens. 

At the high-level talks, the South Korean government is expected to demand North Korea to gain trust from the international community by taking substantive measures before declaring an end of the war. The North is expected to ask the South to deliver messages on its commitment for denuclearization to Washington. 

"It is only delusional to realize denuclearization without ending the state of war, which is the root of the hostile relationship, and adopting end-of-war declaration to build trust," North Korean propaganda website Meari said Sunday.

The United States is also waiting for the outcome of the inter-Korean talks. It is urgent for Washington to draw North Korea's tangible denuclearization efforts ahead of the November midterm elections. The U.S. made specific proposals for starting and proceeding to the end point of fully verified denuclearization, but North Korea rejected all of these proposals, according to CNN reports. 

Some say U.S. President Donald Trump will send Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Pyongyang for negotiations on denuclearization. If Pompeo visits the North, there is much attention towards whether he will be able to find the right balance with the North on the denuclearization of ending the war and the denuclearization process.

China has also made it clear that it will join the two Koreas and the United States to declare the end of the Korean War. Chinese President Xi Jinping may visit Pyongyang before the United Nations General Assembly meeting in September.

During the high-level talks, the logistical details of the third inter-Korean summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un are likely to be determined. "We expect the date, venue and size of the South Korean delegation to be agreed on during the high-level talks in light of the April 27 Panmunjom Declaration," Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson Kim Eui-kyeom told reporters Sunday in a media briefing.

The South Korean delegation, headed by Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon, will include Vice Unification Minister Chun Hae-sung, Nam Gwan-pyo, a senior director from the presidential National Security Office, and director-general Ahn Moon-hyun from the Prime Minister's Office. The North Korean delegation will be led by Ri Son-gwon, chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country. Other North Korean delegates include Pak Yong-il, vice chairman of the reunification committee, Vice Railroad Minister Kim Yun-hyok, and Land and Environmental Protection Vice Minister Pak Ho-yong.

The attendance of Nam Gwan-pyo, who is in charge of foreign and unification policy in Cheong Wa Dae, reflects South Korea's intention to discuss denuclearization and formal declaration of ending the war. On the other hand, North Korea is likely to focus on economic cooperation, such as modernizing North Korean railways and roads, considering its delegates of the meeting. 

"As you all know, we have a number of official and unofficial communication channels with the North. We are preparing for tomorrow's talks through these channels," the spokesman said.

#high-level talks #two Koreas #inter-Korean summit #denuclearization #Moon Jae-in 
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