ROK-DPRK di­rect hot­line likely this week

China Daily - - WORLD - Xin­hua and Reuters con­trib­uted to this story.

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.

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