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Vice unification minister expected to visit inter-Korean liaison office this week

Vice Unification Minister Suh Ho is expected to visit a joint inter-Korean liaison office later this week for the first time since he was appointed the new South Korean head of the office last week, the ministry said Monday.

Suh was appointed Friday as the South Korean chief of the liaison office located in North Korea's border town of Kaesong. The appointment came after he replaced Chun Hae-sung last month as vice unification minister, who also serves as Seoul's liaison office chief.

Vice Unification Minister Suh Ho (Yonhap)
Vice Unification Minister Suh Ho (Yonhap)

"He needs to figure out the overall work there and boost the morale of his staff," Lee Sang-min, the ministry's spokesperson, told a regular press briefing. "Discussions with North Korea on his detailed schedules are currently under way."

It is still unclear whether Suh will meet his North Korean counterpart, Jon Jong-su, during his trip to Kaesong. Suh and Jon are supposed to hold a weekly meeting as co-heads of the office to discuss inter-Korean issues.

The two Koreas launched the liaison office in September and agreed to hold a meeting of its co-heads -- one from each side -- every week.

The meeting, however, has not been held since the collapse of the Hanoi summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump in February.

Seoul has said that despite the absence of such weekly meetings, there is no problem in communication via the liaison office since its officials are in contact with North Korean staff on a daily basis.

A senior government official earlier told reporters on condition of anonymity that Seoul is considering proposing to North Korea that the two sides hold a meeting of their liaison office chiefs only when they agree to it, rather than sticking to the current weekly basis. (Yonhap)

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