ROK-DPRK direct hotline likely this week
The dialogue hotline between the leaders of the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was likely to be set up later this week, a senior Blue House official said on Tuesday.
Im Jong-seok, chief of staff for ROK President Moon Jae-in, said the hotline between Moon and top DPRK leader Kim Jong-un was forecast to be installed around Friday as workinglevel talks have already been held twice on that issue.
Im said the first Moon-Kim conversation via the telephone line was expected to be made possible around Friday, but he noted that the exact date had yet to be decided.
Moon and Kim agreed to hold their first face-to-face meeting on April 27 at the border village of Panmunjom. They decided to establish a direct hotline between them and have the first telephone talks before the summit is held.
If necessary, Im said, the possibility is always open for Chung Eui-yong, chief of the National Security Office of the Blue House, or Suh Hoon, head of the National Intelligence Service, to visit Pyongyang before the interKorean summit.
As special emissaries for Moon, Chung and Suh met with Kim in Pyongyang in early March when the two neighbors agreed to hold the third inter-Korean summit in late April. They said Kim was committed to denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula and had expressed a willingness to meet US President Donald Trump.
“Even though our special envoys confirmed his denuclearization will, it is entirely different if the two leaders confirm it directly among themselves and put that into text,” Im said.
“We expect the summit will confirm the denuclearization
It is entirely different if the two leaders confirm it directly among themselves and put that into text.”
Im Jong-seok, chief of staff for ROK President Moon Jae-in
will (of Pyongyang)”.
Im said communication channels with the DPRK through the NIS, the ROK’s intelligence agency, have been opened smoothly.
He added many issues would be discussed between the two sides during the second round of working-level talks for security, protocol and media coverage for the Moon-Kim summit.
The working-level dialogue was set to be held on Wednesday in Panmunjom.
Pyongyang defends its nuclear and missile programs as a necessary deterrent against a possible US invasion, prompting bellicose rhetoric from both sides. The United States stations 28,500 troops in the ROK but denies any invasion plans.
Tensions have eased in recent months, coinciding with DPRK’s participation in the Winter Olympics held in the ROK in February.
Seoul and Pyongyang are discussing the wording of a possible joint statement to be released at the summit, Im said, adding that it will likely focus on issues of denuclearization and peace on the Korean Peninsula, and an improvement in relations not only between the two neighbors but also with other countries including the US.