NATIONAL

Seoul to mediate in US-NK communications

By Choi He-suk
  • Published : May 17, 2018 - 16:34
  • Updated : May 17, 2018 - 16:34
Seoul will communicate with North Korea and the US to act as a mediator in preparations for the US-North Korea summit, Cheong Wa Dae said Thursday.

According to the presidential office, the decision was reached at the National Security Council meeting convened early Thursday, presided over by National Security Office chief Chung Eui-yong.

“The council members reiterated that the Panmunjeom Declaration must be executed without faltering,” Cheong Wa Dae said in a statement. 

Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom briefs the media on Thursday`s National Security Council meeting. Yonhap

“The council members decided to mediate through diverse South Korea-US, South-North channels so that the US-North Korea summit can be held successfully under the principle of mutual respect.”

According to a high-level Cheong Wa Dae official, the reference to “mutual respect” between the US and Pyongyang was made to highlight the need for the two countries to see the other side’s perspective.

“The US and the North are (approaching related issues) with serious and earnest attitudes,” the official said. He added that Pyongyang and Washington appear to have hit a snag, and that the US could take a softer approach on issues raised by North Korea.

He emphasized that Seoul also expects Pyongyang to take a similar attitude in dealing with the US, and that North Korea’s position on dialogue remains unchanged.

Regarding the possibility of President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader communicating directly through the so-called inter-Korean hotline, the official said that no decisions have been made on the issue.

The line connecting Seoul’s presidential office to Pyongyang’s leadership was re-established ahead of the April 27 inter-Korean summit. Cheong Wa Dae had initially announced that Moon and Kim would talk through the channel before their meeting, but the line has yet to be used.

By Choi He-suk (cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)