Cheong Wa Dae Breaks Secrecy on Visit to N.Korea

  • By Lee Min-seok

    September 06, 2018 10:46

    Cheong Wa Dae on Thursday morning broke heavy secrecy surrounding the flying visit of five South Korean officials to Pyongyang on Wednesday.

    The presidential office said the two sides agreed to hold a fresh summit in Pyongyang on Sept. 18-20, where they will discuss how to implement the declaration from their April 27 summit and concrete steps to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

    No South Korean reporters had been allowed to accompany the officials, who traveled to North Korea as special envoys of President Moon Jae-in, sparking rumors of closed-door dealings.

    Presidential officials here said they themselves had no news about the meeting's progress until the delegation returned.

    South Korean officials return from a day visit to Pyongyang on Wednesday night.

    On Wednesday, Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom told reporters, "The special envoys are sending back progress reports to Cheong Wa Dae with a fax machine equipped with a scrambling device. But communication conditions are not good so the reports are infrequent."

    Asked why no updates were being given throughout the day, a Cheong Wa Dae source said, "We can't realistically do that since the meeting involves security and diplomatic issues."

    Yet reporters covering the U.S. State Department were allowed to accompany Secretary of State Mike Pompeo when he traveled to Pyongyang in May, and they sent back news and photos of the meeting on social media. When Kim's sister Yo-jong visited South Korea early this year, she traveled with a group of North Korean reporters.

    One foreign reporter said, "This could raise suspicions that the South Korean government is worried about irking North Korea or only wants to reveal good news to the media."

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