NATIONAL

Inter-Korean summit likely to confirm N. Korean commitment to denuclearization: FM

By Yonhap
  • Published : Apr 25, 2018 - 10:33
  • Updated : Apr 25, 2018 - 11:49

The inter-Korean summit meeting set for this week will likely be a chance to confirm North Korea's commitment to denuclearization between the top leaders of the two Koreas, Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said Wednesday.

"The South-North summit talks are expected to be a venue where (the leaders) discuss the issue of denuclearization frankly and verify North Korea's commitment to denuclearization," Kang said during an event hosted by the Korea Peace Foundation.

The summit between President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is set to take place on Friday on the south side of the inter-Korean truce village of Panmunjom.

"(The two Koreas) will likely form a common understanding of the ways to institute peace, which could build a permanent peace regime to replace their unstable armistice regime," Kang noted.

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha enters the venue of an event hosted by the Korea Peace Foundation, held at World Culture Open Korea in central Seoul, on Wednesday. (Yonhap)

The key agenda items for the historic summit will be denuclearization, peace building and fence-mending between the Koreas, the top diplomat also said, adding that the event "will lay the cornerstone for a new start toward peace."

"The upcoming inter-Korean summit will (also) be the starting point for laying the groundwork for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and a guide to help the upcoming North Korea-US summit through success."

In addition to the denuclearization issue, other major inter-Korean subjects will be put up for discussion including easing military tensions, humanitarian matters and inter-Korean cooperation, according to Kang.

"A peace regime (to be instituted with the North) would make it possible (for the Koreas) to prevent potential military conflicts on the Korean Peninsula and to have mutually prosperous economic cooperation," she noted.

In a question and answer session following her speech, Kang also dismissed media suspicion that her foreign ministry has been left out of the ongoing government policy efforts to denuclearize North Korea.

"The right time may come for (the foreign ministry's) official line to step in following a 'top-down' situation where many decisions are made behind the scenes (between the leaders)," she said.

She said there are "some new optimistic elements" in having back-to-back summits between Moon and Kim as well as President Donald Trump and Kim, projecting that they could lead to a trilateral summit between them.

Asked about the possibility of the summits' failure, Kang said the North Korean leader is well aware that his declaration of an all-out drive for economic development cannot be achieved under the current international frame of sanctions and pressure on the country.

"I think there will be much to agree on, given that (Kim) may come to the table with such an understanding," she said. (Yonhap)