Koreas hold high-level talks

Progress on fam­ily re­uni­fi­ca­tion, Asian Games

Global Times - Weekend - - WORLD -

North Korea and South Korea held high-level talks Fri­day to dis­cuss their on­go­ing ef­forts to im­prove ties ahead of a land­mark meet­ing be­tween US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

The North-South dis­cus­sions were orig­i­nally sched­uled for ear­lier this month but were abruptly called off by Py­ongyang in re­sponse to a joint US-South Korea air force drill.

But a day af­ter “Max Thun­der” ended May 25, the North’s leader Kim had a sur­prise sum­mit with South Korean Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in at the bor­der truce vil­lage of Pan­munjom – their sec­ond, fol­low­ing a his­toric first meet­ing in April.

The two Koreas agreed to hold more meet­ings through­out this month to carry out the agree­ments reached be­tween their lead­ers at the April sum­mit, ac­cord­ing to a joint state­ment af­ter Fri­day’s talks.

A round of gen­eral-level mil­i­tary talks will be held on June 14 to dis­cuss ways to ease ten­sions and a Red Cross meet­ing to plan a re­union for war-sep­a­rated fam­i­lies is sched­uled for June 22.

Of­fi­cials from the two sides will also meet on June 18 to dis­cuss the prospects of field­ing a joint team for the Jakarta Asian Games in Au­gust.

The high-level meet­ing comes as a flurry of diplo­macy is un­der­way to lay the ground­work for a his­toric June 12 sum­mit be­tween Kim and Trump.

In Py­ongyang, Kim Jong-un recom­mit­ted North Korea to “de­nu­cle­ariza­tion,” boost­ing hopes of what would be an ex­tra­or­di­nary diplo­matic turn-around just a week af­ter Trump threat­ened to can­cel prepa­ra­tions.

Since that short-lived cri­sis, di­plo­mats in both coun­tries have con­ducted an in­tense flurry of talks, cul­mi­nat­ing on Thurs­day when Pom­peo sat down in New York with Kim’s en­voy.

Pom­peo sug­gested things are mov­ing in the right di­rec­tion.

“It will take bold lead­er­ship from Chair­man Kim Jong-un if we were able to seize this once in a life­time op­por­tu­nity to change the course for the world,” he said.

“Pres­i­dent Trump and I be­lieve Chair­man Kim is the kind of leader who can make those kind of de­ci­sions, and in the com­ing weeks and months, we will have the op­por­tu­nity to test whether or not this is the case.”

Kim’s right-hand man, Kim Yong­chol, was set to de­liver a per­sonal let­ter from Kim to Trump Fri­day fol­low­ing talks in New York with Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo, which made what the US diplo­mat called “real progress” to­ward the planned sum­mit in Sin­ga­pore.

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