Back To Top

[Newsmaker] Points to watch for at Pyongyang summit

With North Korea hard-pressed by international sanctions, it is unlikely that the third inter-Korean summit will yield immediate results in such areas as cross-border economic cooperation.

Here are some of the latest remarks by Yoon Young-chan, senior secretary to the president for public communications, on what will be discussed at the summit. 


1) Economic cooperation and sanctions

Yoon said that the two Koreas will discuss “the big picture” in terms of economic cooperation, but the aforementioned sanctions will make it hard for them to discuss specific details.

“There are things that we can do right now, and things that we can’t do, due to the sanctions. Rather than specific, actual cooperation plans, the discussion will be about what we can discuss right now,” Yoon said.

The senior secretary remained mum on whether the presidential office thought this was an opportune time to ease economic pressure on Pyongyang, which is under sanctions for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

“Multiple things are taking place at once, and we hope the conditions for US-North Korea talks will be established. The international community is currently cooperating on the sanctions, and under new circumstances,” he added.

2) Prospects of another joint declaration

The April 27 summit ended with the two Koreas agreeing on the Panmunjeom Declaration. Whether this will be repeated remains to be seen, Yoon said.

“We believe that there have been considerable discussions regarding agreements on the easing of military tensions. I think more discussion is in order after we go to North Korea, in the process of wrapping things up,” Yoon said.

3) Koreas to focus on three agenda items

In a briefing Monday, the presidential office noted that inter-Korean relations, Washington-Pyongyang talks, and the easing of military tensions across the border would be the three main agenda items for the upcoming talks.

Yoon said the two Koreas would discuss the issues collectively, rather than set a priority. 

Moon and Kim will hold the summit from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., during which the first lady Kim Jung-sook will visit a children's hospital and a music university.

The civilian entourage will hold a meeting with Kim Young-nam, North Korea's nominal head of state, while the business tycoons with meet with Ri Yong-nam, the deputy prime minister for economy of North Korea.

By Yoon Min-sik (