August 01, 2018 09:34
National Intelligence Service chief Suh Hoon will visit Pyongyang soon to arrange another urgent inter-Korean summit in late August, a source said on Tuesday.
The leaders of the two Koreas agreed at their summit on April 27 to hold a follow-up summit in autumn.
A government source here said, "We're discussing a follow-up summit in late August" because Seoul wants to play the role of go-between in dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang, which have been unable to make progress on the North's denuclearization.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo came back empty-handed from a visit to the North early July, having been unable to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Last week, Suh was in Washington, accompanied by Park Sun-won, the former consul general in Shanghai who has been reassigned as his special adviser. They met with American officials to discuss issues like easing some North Korea sanctions and formally declaring an end to the Korean War, government officials said.
Suh is reportedly working out a package of offers to the North.
Seoul is in a hurry because there will not be another slot until late September. The North Korean regime celebrates its 70th anniversary on Sept. 9, and the UN General Assembly opens in New York in mid-September.
"There will have to be some progress in efforts to declare an end to the war this year and improve in cross-border relations, which are two key points" in the declaration signed by the leaders of the two Koreas in April, a government official here said.
Seoul believes that will require easing sanctions to a certain extent.
Beijing has also called for easing sanctions and formally ending the war, but Washington says the North must take concrete steps toward denuclearization first, including supplying details of its nuclear program.
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