South and North Korea to hold third summit meeting next month

Posted by On 6:09 AM

South and North Korea to hold third summit meeting next month

South and North Korea agreed on Monday to hold a third summit meeting between their leaders in Pyongyang in September, after the two met for high-level talks on the north side of the demilitarised zone (DMZ).

Next month’s meeting comes amid faltering progress in efforts to denuclearise the Korean peninsula, following two inter-Korean meetings and a June summit in Singapore between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US president Donald Trump.

South Korean unification minister Cho Myoung-gyon met Ri Son-gwon, chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country, at the truce village of Panmunjom. The leaders did not fix the date for the summit meeting.

“We agreed to hold an inter-Korean summit within September in Pyongyang,” the two sides said in a brief joint statement issued after the meeting.

Mr Kim and South Korean president Moon Jae-in met in April at Panmunjom, and again in May, making Mr Moon the only South Korean leader to have met North Korea’s leader twice.

“We also reviewed the implementation situations of the Panmunjom Declaration and held consultations in a sincere manner on matters related to its more active enforcement,” they added.

Sanctions anger

The North Koreans are angry that punishing economic sanctions remain in place despite goodwill gestures such as stopping weapons testing and returning the remains of US troops killed during the Korean War (1950-53).

Washington, which has cancelled joint military drills with South Korea, believes that North Korea is not doing enough to denuclearise.

The two Koreas have held numerous meetings to discuss co-operation on various issues and cross-border exchanges, such as collaboration on sports and rail networks.

Mr Kim has been engaged in a busy round of diplomacy this year, meeting leaders from the US, China and South Kor ea.

However, Seoul has not deepened the relationship as it is constrained by the sanctions imposed on the North and also demands by its US allies for Pyongyang to speed up the pace of denuclearisation.

It’s possible the agenda for next month’s talks could include the declaration of a formal end to the Korean War, which ended in a ceasefire, not a peace treaty. The two Koreas previously agreed to complete this by the end of the year.

“As the Pyongyang summit of the leaders of North and South Korea is being pursued, I believe that we can give concrete answers to the problems that the people hope and wish for,” Mr Ri said during the talks.

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