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Koreas Set Next Kim-Moon Summit for Mid-September

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The leaders of the two Koreas will meet Sept. 18-20 in Pyongyang to discuss how to achieve the “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

Senior presidential official Chung Eui-yong told reporters Thursday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un also reaffirmed his “firm resolve” to realize denuclearization when he met him in Pyongyang on Wednesday.

Kim was paraphrased as saying that it was “his will to completely remove the danger of armed conflict and horror of war from the Korean peninsula and turn it into the cradle of peace without nuclear weapons and free from nuclear threat.”

Deadlocked diplomacy

Chung’s trip came amid deadlocked diplomacy over North Korea’s nuclear program. North Korea has taken several steps such as dismantling its nuclear testing site this year, but the U.S. wants it to take more serious disarmament measures.

Chung says Kim’s summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in will focus on what specific steps must be taken to realize the denuclearization.

He says the Koreas will hold talks next week to prepare for the summit.

KCNA said Kim and the South Korean envoys reached a “satisfactory agreement” over his planned summit with Moon.

Two tracks of diplomacy

Moon, who discussed his plans with President Donald Trump by telephone Tuesday, said his envoys had a crucial task that could determine the prospects for lasting peace.

While pushing ahead with summits and inter-Korean engagement, Seoul is trying to persuade Washington and Pyongyang to proceed with peace and denuclearization processes at the same time so they can overcome a growing dispute over the sequencing of the diplomacy.

Seoul also wants a trilateral summit among the countries, or a four-nation meeting that also includes Beijing, to declare a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War. The U.N. General Assembly in late September would be an ideal date for Seoul, but many analysts see that possibility as low, considering the complications of the process and how far apart the parties currently are.

U.S. officials have insisted that a peace declaration, which many see as a precursor to the North eventually calling for the removal of all U.S. troops from the Korean Peninsula, cannot come before North Korea takes more concrete action toward abandoning its nuclear weapons. Such steps may include providing an account of the components of its nuclear program, allowing outside inspections and giving up a certain number of its nuclear weapons during the early stages of the negotiations.

 

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