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Vice minister to visit Kaesong liaison office, no weekly meeting planned

Vice Unification Minister Suh Ho will visit the inter-Korean liaison office in North Korea's border town of Kaesong this week, though there will be no meeting with his North Korean counterpart, a ministry official said Thursday.

Suh's trip to the office on Friday comes at a time when inter-Korean relations remain stalled, with Pyongyang threatening to end their joint tour program to Mount Kumgang on the North's east coast. 

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

But the vice minister, who serves as the South Korean head of the office, does not plan to address the issue during his trip, the ministry official said, adding that Suh's visit is aimed at meeting South Korean workers stationed there and reviewing the office's overall operation. His North Korean counterpart is Jon Jong-su.

"There will be no meeting of the office's co-heads this week," the official told reporters. "North Korea has informed us in advance that its head of the office will not participate in the meeting."

The liaison office was launched in September last year to support exchanges and cooperation between the two Koreas following the summit agreement between their leaders in April last year.

They agreed to hold a weekly meeting of co-heads of the office -- one from each side -- but such a meeting has not been held since February amid chilled cross-border relations.

Suh originally planned to visit Kaesong once every month, regardless of the meeting with his North Korean counterpart, but could not visit in October due to busy schedules, the official said. He last visited the office in September. (Yonhap)