September 17, 2018 09:55
President Moon Jae-in is taking a 17-member business entourage with him to North Korea on Tuesday that includes heads of all South Korea's top conglomerates.
On the list announced by Cheong Wa Dae on Sunday are Samsung chief Lee Jae-yong, SK chairman Chey Tae-won, LG chairman Koo Kwang-mo and Hyundai Motor vice chairman Kim Yong-hwan.
Hyun Jeong-eun, the chairwoman of the smaller Hyundai Group which pioneered business with North Korea, will also come along.
North Korea apparently asked for them to come along even though international sanctions make any concrete business deals a distant prospect. The business community here are grumbling that they are being forced to trudge along though palpable results are improbable and serve mainly as cheerleaders for Cheong Wa Dae's hopes for the future.
Presidential chief of staff Im Jong-seok said a total of 200 officials, politicians, business representatives, reporters and others will accompany Moon to the summit in Pyongyang. The official entourage includes National Intelligence Service chief Suh Hoon, Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon, Defense Minister Song Young-moo, and national security adviser Chung Eui-yong.
Minjoo Party lawmaker Lee Hae-chan, Party for Democracy and Peace leader Chung Dong-young and Justice Party leader Lee Jeong-mi will also come, as will rapper Zico, singer Ailee and songwriter Kim Hyung-suk, possibly with a view to performing there.
Moon flies to Pyongyang on his official plane on Tuesday and will attend a dinner hosted by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un that evening followed by meetings on Wednesday. He return to Seoul after a farewell luncheon on Thursday.
An advance team of 90 security and protocol officials, broadcast engineers and reporters is already in the North. The two sides agreed Friday to provide live coverage of the summit.
Meanwhile, the U.S. requested an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on Monday after several loopholes were discovered in sanctions against North Korea, including smuggling of oil, coal, textiles and even weapons as well as financial transactions.
The U.S. representative to the UN in a statement on Friday said, "Given recent efforts by some member states to undermine and obstruct North Korea sanctions implementation, the United States has called an urgent United Nations Security Council meeting for Monday... to discuss the implementation and enforcement of UN sanctions."
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