Koreas to Hold Working-level Talks on Inter-Korean Summit

Erika Holt
April 5, 2018

It is not known exactly why the North chose to postpone Wednesday's meeting, but a Blue House official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said it appeared Pyongyang needed more time to prepare for the dialogue, possibly because it dealt with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's security.

U.S. President Donald Trump said Thursday that he may "postpone" the signing of a revised free trade agreement with Seoul until after negotiations about the scrapping of North Korea's nuclear weapons program are finalized.

The North also suggested another working-level meeting discussing telecommunication systems to be used during the summit be held this Saturday at Tongilgak, a North Korean-controlled building in Panmunjom, to which Seoul has yet to respond.

The Koreas after a high-level meeting last week agreed on the date of the summit.

South Korea's foreign minister Kang Kyung-wha said Seoul maintains a "firm stance" against the "dire human rights situation" in the North but that the prospect of Mr Moon discussing it with Mr Kim this month was unlikely.

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The working-level talks come ahead of the April 27 summit, where the two Korean leaders are expected to discuss on denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula as well as a peace plan, in an effort to improve the bilateral relations between the two countries. The Koreas would need to agree on how Kim would arrive at the venue, including whether he would cross the military demarcation line that bisects the Koreas by foot in a symbolic gesture.

The upcoming summit will be held at the border village for the first time.

In setting up separate talks with Beijing, Seoul, Washington, and potentially Moscow and Tokyo, North Korea may be moving to disrupt any united front among its negotiating counterparts.

South Korea says Kim has expressed a willingness to negotiate nuclear disarmament in his talks with Moon and Trump.

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