Korea agrees to high-level inter-Korean talks March 29: ministry

24 March 2018, 12:30 | Isaac Mcdaniel

U.S. President Donald Trump departs from the White House on March 13

U.S. President Donald Trump departs from the White House on March 13

Two former senior US diplomats have expressed concern over a lack of preparation for the proposed summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

North Korea said it will be represented by a three-member delegation led by Ri Son Kwon, chairman of the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland Committee.

However, supporters of diplomacy say that even the prospect of talks is a welcome change from the saber-rattling of 2017, when North Korea tested a series of missiles and a huge nuclear bomb, and the Trump administration warned repeatedly of military options for making North Korea stop.

Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon will lead the South's delegation at next week's meeting in the border village of Panmunjom, where officials will discuss the date and specific agendas of the summit, according to the ministry.

In what could be seen as a gesture of goodwill leading up to anticipated talks between the USA and North Korea, an annual joint military exercise between American and South Korean military forces - which has been a long-time source of tension for the Hermit Kingdom - has been shortened by a full month.

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The North on Wednesday broke its silence on the diplomatic thaw with Washington and Seoul, with its official KCNA news agency saying Pyongyang was driving the peace initiative and rejecting suggestions that sanctions forced it to dialogue table.

It was against this background that President Trump's move to agree for a meeting with North Korean leader Kim was seen very surprising.

Addressing the UN General Council, Trump said that "the United States would, if necessary to protect itself or its allies, "totally destroy North Korea" and the "Rocket Man" who runs it".

There is considerable skepticism about both sets of talks, with some analysts and conservative politicians noting that North Korea has reneged on every deal it has ever signed. Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in are to meet separately in late April.

State media in the North have not reported any public activities by Kim since March 6, when they said he held talks with South Korean envoys and made a "satisfactory agreement" on the proposed inter-Korean summit.



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