Koreas to hold high-level talks | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 10, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 10, 2018

Preparation for Leaders' Summit

Koreas to hold high-level talks

The two Koreas will hold high-level talks next week to prepare for a third summit between the South's President Moon Jae-in and the North's leader Kim Jong Un, Seoul said yesterday, as a diplomatic rapprochement takes hold.

Although the South's unification ministry did not elaborate on where the summit would take place, Moon had previously agreed to visit Kim in Pyongyang during the autumn after the two leaders held a historic meeting in April.

In a statement the ministry said the two sides would hold high-level talks on Monday on the Northern side of the truce village of Panmunjom to "discuss preparatory matters regarding a South-North summit".

The overture came from Pyongyang, Seoul said.

The summit will mark the third meeting between Moon and Kim, after the two leaders held a surprise encounter in May.

Sporting cooperation helped spark a diplomatic thaw after the North agreed to participate in the Winter Olympics held in the South last February, sending athletes and top officials including Kim's sister Kim Yo Jong to the Games.

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

Although Trump touted his summit with Kim as a historic breakthrough, the nuclear-armed North has since criticised Washington for its "gangster-like" demands of complete, verifiable and irreversible disarmament.

Meanwhile the US has urged the international community to maintain tough sanctions on the isolated regime.

Moon, who has prioritised improving ties with the North, played a key role in brokering a remarkable detente between Washington and Pyongyang after months of Kim and Trump trading insults and threats of war.

If it goes ahead, the meeting between Moon and Kim is expected to focus on hammering out a consensus on officially ending the 1950-53 Korean War, which concluded with an armistice instead of a peace treaty.

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