NATIONAL

Koreas hold more summit preparation talks this week

By Jung Min-kyung
  • Published : Apr 16, 2018 - 17:47
  • Updated : Apr 20, 2018 - 19:37
With an inter-Korean summit scheduled to take place on April 27, the two Koreas are expected to hold what is likely to be the final round of preparation talks this week.

The two sides will hold working-level talks at the Tongilgak administrative building in the truce village of Panmunjeom on Wednesday, which will be closely followed by high-level talks, according to the South’s presidential Cheong Wa Dae, to build a solid foundation for the fast-approaching summit. The exact date for the high-level meeting has yet to be determined.  

South Korea`s summit preparation committee led by President Moon Jae-in`s chief of staff Im Jong-seok visits the truce village of Panmunjeom on April 6. (Yonhap)

Officials from the two Koreas have been putting their heads together in Panmunjeom since last month to hammer out key agenda items and relevant details for what will be the third inter-Korean summit. The first was held in 2000 and the second in 2007.

Both sides agreed during a separate high-level meeting on March 29 that South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will meet at the South’s side of Panmunjeom on April 27.

If held as agreed, Kim will become the first North Korean leader to cross the border since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, as the previous two summits were held in Pyongyang. 

This year‘s summit will be held under the slogan “Peace, a new start,“ created by South Korea, according to Cheong Wa Dae. 

The slogan signifies the journey that the two Koreas will have to take to achieve global peace, starting with their first summit in 11 years, Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom told reporters Sunday. It also embodies the hope that the summit will serve as a guide for US-North Korea talks, he added.

The liberal Moon administration recently narrowed down the main summit agenda items to North Korea’s denuclearization, bringing about a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula, and bolstering inter-Korean relations.

Among them, Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program is perceived by many as the core item, with analysts saying the inter-Korean summit will pave the way for the first summit between the United States and North Korea.

US President Donald Trump said he plans to meet Kim by late May or early June, while expressing hope to make a deal on denuclearization with North Korea through the meeting.

A significant gap remains between the US and North Korea’s positions on the path toward denuclearization. Pyongyang has suggested the need for phased and synchronous measures for denuclearization, while Washington is calling for the North to dismantle its nuclear program in a complete, irreversible and verifiable manner.

This week’s preparation talks are expected to address the establishment of the cross-border hotline between the leaders of the two Koreas. Moon and Kim agreed to communicate through the line before the summit.

Details on security measures, protocols and media coverage for the summit are also expected to be finalized. Cheong Wa Dae has been keeping such details classified, citing security issues.

The South’s summit organizing committee is launching a web page to post updates on information regarding the summit, in efforts to promote public communication and transparency.

The website will be accessible from Tuesday at www.koreasummit.kr.

By Jung Min-kyung (mkjung@heraldcorp.com)