Saturday 21 July 2018

North and South Korea to hold fresh meeting aimed at reducing border tensions and reuniting separated families

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meets South Korean President Moon Jae-in (AP)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meets South Korean President Moon Jae-in (AP)
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

THE two Koreas will hold a high-level meeting on Wednesday to discuss setting up military and Red Cross talks aimed at reducing border tension and restarting reunions between families separated by the Korean War.

Seoul's Unification Ministry said on Tuesday that the meeting at a border truce village would discuss ways to carry out peace commitments made between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean president Moon Jae-in in their summit last month.

The discussions may also include setting up working-level talks between the countries' sports officials over plans to field combined teams in certain sports at the Asian Games in August.

The meeting comes ahead of the June 12 summit between Mr Kim and US president Donald Trump. Those talks are part of a global diplomatic push to resolve the issue of Pyongyang's nuclear programme.

After their April 27 meeting, Mr Kim and Mr Moon issued a vague vow for the "complete" denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.

They also agreed to stop all hostile acts over "land, sea and air" that could cause military tensions and clashes, and to resume temporary reunions between war-separated families.

South Korea, which brokered the planned talks between Mr Trump and Mr Kim, said Mr Kim had genuine interest in dealing away his nuclear weapons in return for economic benefits.

But there are lingering doubts on whether Mr Kim will ever agree to fully relinquish his nukes.

Pyongyang for decades has been pushing a concept of "denuclearisation" that bears no resemblance to the American definition, vowing to pursue nuclear development unless Washington removes its troops and the nuclear umbrella defending South Korea and Japan.

The North said on Saturday that it would invite foreign journalists to witness the closure of its nuclear test site between May 23 and 25, but the announcement did not include plans to permit outside verification experts at the site.

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