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S Korea team to fly North to discuss summit details

Seoul: A high-level South Korean delegation will fly to North Korea this week to discuss arrangements for an inter-Korean summit there this month, as relations grow cooler between Washington and Pyongyang.

The South’s President Moon Jae-in Sunday named his top security adviser as a special envoy to the North to discuss details before Moon’s planned meeting in Pyongyang with Kim Jong-Un.

Chung Eui-yong, head of the presidential National Security Office, will lead a five-member delegation to the North’s capital on Wednesday, Moon’s spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom told reporters.

The delegation, which also includes South Korea’s spy chief Suh Hoon, will fly to Pyongyang via a rare direct route across the inter-Korean border for their day trip.

It will be Chung’s second visit to the North since March, when he headed the same five-member team to arrange the first summit between Moon and Kim and met Kim Jong-Un.

The spokesman said it was unclear whether the delegation would meet the North’s leader this time around.

Moon and Kim have met face-to-face twice now, the first during a historic summit at the border truce village of Panmunjom in April. It was the first time a North Korean leader had crossed into the South since the 1950-53 war sealed the division of the Korean peninsula.

They met a second time in Panmunjom in May as they scrambled to salvage plans for a summit between Kim and US President Donald Trump in Singapore, which eventually went ahead on June 12.

Moon and Kim have since agreed to hold a third summit in Pyongyang at an unspecified date in September.

The rapid rapprochement on the Korean peninsula led to the landmark meeting between Kim and Trump in June, which the US leader touted as a historic breakthrough.

At the summit the pair reached a vague agreement to work towards the “complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula”, but there has been little movement since.

Pyongyang has slammed the US for its “gangster-like” demands for complete, verifiable and irreversible disarmament, and the UN’s International Atomic Energy    Agency reported there was no indication that the North had stopped its nuclear activities.

Last month Trump ordered Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to abruptly cancel a planned trip to Pyongyang, citing lack of progress on denuclearisation.

Categories: World News
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