Koreas Meet September In Pyongyang

North and South Korea are stepping up their rapprochement with a summit planned to hold in Pyongyang in September.

The summit was announced following high-level talks on Monday in the Demilitarized Zone that divides the peninsula.

According to the South’s Yonhap news agency, the two sides “agreed at the meeting to hold a South-North summit in Pyongyang in September as planned”.

The news agency did not give the precise date for the meeting.

A trip by the South’s President Moon Jae-in to the North’s capital would be the first such visit for more than a decade, as the diplomatic thaw on the peninsula builds.

At the historic first summit between Moon and the North’s leader Kim Jong Un in Panmunjom in April they agreed the South’s president would visit Pyongyang during the autumn.

Monday’s high-level talks, taking place on the northern side of the truce village in the Demilitarized Zone, were proposed by the North last week as it lashed out at Washington for pushing ahead with sanctions.

In his opening statement, the North’s chief delegate Ri Son Gwon said: “As the Pyongyang meeting of the leaders of the north and south is being discussed, I think talking about the issue will provide answers to the wishes of the people.”

Using a proverb describing a very intimate friend to refer to inter-Korean ties, Ri added: “We have opened an era where we are advancing hand in hand rather than standing in each other’s way.”

Despite the rapprochement, international sanctions against the North for its nuclear and missile programmes have kept economic cooperation between the two Koreas from taking off, while little progress has been made on the key issue of Pyongyang’s denuclearisation.

South Korea’s Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon, leading the delegation from Seoul, said it was important that the two Koreas keep “the same mind”.

“Many issues will be raised (at the meeting), but I think any problem can be resolved with that mindset,” Cho added.

Cho addressed the possibility of Pyongyang raising the issue of sanctions to the South, and said: “We will explain our position to the North.”

AFP

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