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Koreas hold high-level talks on third leaders' summit

14 August 2018
Koreas hold high-level talks on third leaders' summit

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in met in April and May at the border truce village of Panmunjom, within the demilitarised zone (DMZ) that separates the two Koreas, and agreed that the next summit in autumn would be held in the North Korean capital.

Ri Son Gwon, chairman of the North Korean agency that deals with inter-Korean affairs, told pool reporters at the end of the talks that officials agreed on a specific date for the summit in Pyongyang sometime within September, but he refused to share the date, saying he wanted to "keep reporters wondering".

The first South Korean president to go to the North's capital was Kim Dae-jung, who met the current leader's father and predecessor Kim Jong-il in 2000 and later won the Nobel Peace Prize in part for his efforts at inter-Korean reconciliation.

'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, ' the North's chief delegate Ri Son Gwon said in his opening statement.

The agreement was reached during high-level talks between the two sides at the Panmunjom border village on Monday.

Cho said that he urged North Korea to speed up its nuclear talks with the U.S., while Ri said that Pyongyang was making efforts to disarm.

Kim and Trump both agreed to "build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula", while the North Korean leader "reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula".

The summit would probably be held after the 70th anniversary of the North's foundation on September 9, the South's presidential office suggested.

The rapid rapprochement between the two neighbours began this year ahead of the Winter Olympics in the South and paved the way for a landmark meeting between Kim and US President Donald Trump in Singapore in June. Pompeo has been quick to note North Korea has not tested any weapons since November, when it fired a long-range ballistic missile experts believe could be capable of hitting the United States with a nuclear warhead.

Amid a lack of progress on denuclearization talks between the U.S. and North Korea, South and North Korea held high-level talks Monday.

"Whether that is true is in doubt but they are trying to indirectly pressure the United States, especially on sanctions, by showing an improvement in North-South ties and that peace has been established between them".

The North has called for Seoul to fulfill its promise of declaring an end to the war as soon as possible, while the USA has said that the North should take meaningful denuclearization steps first.

US Ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris said Monday that it is still too early to consider declaring an end to the Korean War.

But even as ties have improved, little progress has been made on the key issue of the North's denuclearisation.