Published: Fri, September 07, 2018
World News | By Sandy Lane

Two Koreas agree to hold September summit in Pyongyang: Seoul

Two Koreas agree to hold September summit in Pyongyang: Seoul

The summit, the third between the two leaders since April, and the first time a leader from the South has visited the North in more than a decade, comes despite a stalemate between Washington and Pyongyang over the progress of disarmament talks.

Chung, head of the presidential National Security Office, led a five-member delegation to Pyongyang that also included the director of the National Intelligence Service, Suh Hoon.

South Korean envoys meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang, North Korea September 5, 2018.

The cynical view of Kim's surprisingly upbeat comments to South Korean officials is that Kim is still making demands - he wants that Korean War peace treaty to boost his worldwide prestige and make it harder for the global community to maintain harsh sanctions against him-while offering little more than promises and flattery.

Kim told South Korean officials his faith in Trump was "unchanged" and that he wanted denuclearisation and an end to hostile relations with the United States before Trump's first term in office ends in early 2021, Chung said.

North Korea's official KCNA news agency said Kim told the South's envoys that his "fixed stand" was to turn the Korean peninsula into "a cradle of peace without nuclear weapons, free from nuclear threat".

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Relations between the North and the USA have soured since the historic Trump-Kim summit in Singapore in June.

Donald Trump on Thursday claimed he and Kim Jong-un would "get it done together" amid continued controversy over the US's stalled goal of North Korean denuclearisation.

Stephen Biegun, newly-appointed USA envoy for the North, said last month Kim had promised "final, fully verified denuclearisation" at the Singapore summit.

Chung quoted Kim as saying that two-thirds of each tunnel at the Punggye-ri nuclear weapons testing site had collapsed, rendering the tunnels permanently unusable.

He even expressed regret that the global community does not appreciate such meaningful steps taken by his country, the South Korean envoy said.

The South Koreans' trip to Pyongyang came amid mounting disagreements over the speed and sequence of efforts to eliminate North Korea's nuclear arsenal and finally end the 1950-53 Korean War.

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Mr. Kim told Mr. Chung he still had faith in Mr. Trump despite diplomatic setbacks, and emphasised that he has not once talked negatively about Mr. Trump to anyone, including his closest advisors. "He made that clear", Chung said. "But the work of convincing Chairman Kim to make the strategic shift that we've talked about for a brighter future for the people of North Korea continues".

The primary sticking point at the moment is North Korea's desire to bring an official end to the Korean War.

Speaking Thursday in India, Pompeo said the USA will continue to work with North Korea to "deliver for the world" in upholding U.N. Security Council resolutions against its nuclear and missile programs, and the commitment Kim made at his June summit with Trump on denuclearization.

Moon's special envoy, Chung Eui-yong, announced the dates following a trip to the North.

"This was meant to be set up in August but delayed because of the troubled negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington".

"North Korea needs the declaration of the end of the war to convince its own officials of denuclearization", Koh said. As Schmitz reported, "The U.S. has insisted that a peace declaration, which many see as a precursor to the removal of U.S. troops from the South, can not come before the North takes more concrete action toward abandoning nuclear weapons". Kim wants to sign a treaty first, but American officials fear that he's after a propaganda win and will use the peace treaty to press for the removal of almost 30,000 US troops in South Korea. "He expressed his strong will to carry out more proactive measures toward denuclearization if action is taken in response to the North's preemptive steps". Last month, USA military commanders in Seoul also reversed another of Moon's initiatives, namely sending a train across the DMZ and running it on a North Korean railway to test the rails' condition.

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