The third inter-Korean summit will take place in Pyongyang from Sept. 18 to 20, Seoul’s National Security Office chief Chung Eui-yong said Thursday.
Chung, who returned from Pyongyang late Wednesday as President Moon Jae-in’s chief special envoy, said North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had reiterated his commitment to denuclearization.
“South and North agreed to hold the inter-Korean summit from Sept. 18 to 20 in Pyongyang, and to hold working-level talks at Panmunjom next week,” Chung said. The working-level talks will deal with security, communication and press-related elements of the summit, Chung said.
Chung Eui-yong (Yonhap)
“The summit will deal with the execution and direction of the Panmunjom Declaration, and discuss ways to realize denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, establishing permanent peace and shared prosperity (of the two Koreas).”
On the one-day trip, the five-member delegation, which also included National Intelligence Service Director Suh Hoon, met with Kim and top North Korean officials including Kim Yong-chol, vice chairman of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party.
“Chairman Kim Jong-un reiterated his firm commitment to the complete denuclearization of the peninsula, and expressed his intent to maintain close inter-Korean cooperation, and with the US,” Chung said.
According to Chung, the two sides also agreed to continue talks to ease military tension, and to open the joint liaison office in the North Korean city of Kaesong before the third inter-Korean summit.
Chung also revealed that Kim had expressed exasperation at the international community’s doubt over his intentions and its assessment of the steps North Korea had taken.
Chung quoted Kim as saying that two-thirds of each tunnel at the Punggye-ri nuclear weapons testing site had collapsed, rendering the tunnels permanently unusable. North Korea disabled the site May 24, but skeptics say it may not be irreversible.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Seoul`s National Security Office chief Chung Eui-yong walk together at their meeting in Pyongyang on Wednesday. (Cheong Wa Dae)
Seoul’s chief envoy to the North also said Kim had referred to the dismantling of the Dongchang-ri missile site as signifying his intentions to permanently stop long-range ballistic missile development.
“I cannot reveal it here, but (Kim) asked for a message to be conveyed to the US on the matter,” Chung said.
“(Kim’s message is that) he wishes for an environment that will allow him to feel that his decision to denuclearize was the right one.”
On the matter of declaring end to the Korean War, Chung said Kim shared Seoul’s view that it was a political issue and the first step in building trust among the concerned nations.
“Kim conveyed the view that declaring the end of the war has nothing to do with concerns raised in the US and by some in South Korea that the declaration will weaken the South Korea-US alliance, or (lead to) the withdrawal of US troops,” Chung said.
The two Koreas agreed to work toward the goal of making the declaration within the year.
Kim is also said to have stressed that his trust in US President Donald Trump remained unchanged, and that he had never negatively assessed the US president.
“Kim said that he would like to build on this trust to end the 70 years of hostilities between the North and the US within Trump’s first term, improve relations and achieve denuclearization,” Chung said.
Saying that Kim had expressed his willingness to “take more proactive steps” if the US takes measures corresponding to those Pyongyang has taken so far this year, Chung went on to say that the North appeared to be hoping for Seoul to play a bigger role in related matters.
By Choi He-suk (firstname.lastname@example.org