October 02, 2019 09:53
North Korea and the U.S. have agreed to restart working-level denuclearization talks on Friday and Saturday, about seven months after their second summit collapsed in Hanoi.
According to the North's official Korean Central News Agency, North Korea's Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui said in a statement on Tuesday, "The delegates of [North Korea] are ready to enter into the [North Korea]-U.S. working-level negotiations. It's my expectation that the working-level negotiations would accelerate the positive development of the [North Korea]-U.S. relations."
She said the two sides will have preliminary contact on Friday and main talks on Saturday but did not say where.
The North Korean team is expected to be led by roving ambassador Kim Myong-gil, who was identified as the North's "chief delegate to working-level talks" in a statement issued on KCNA on Sept. 20, and the U.S. team by Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun.
Cheong Wa Dae spokeswoman Ko Min-jung here said, "We welcome the agreement." "We expect that... the two sides will achieve substantial progress for complete denuclearization and permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula at an early date," she added.
But it remains to be seen how much Washington and Pyongyang can bridge the wide gap in their views. Shin Beom-chul at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies said, "The North has persistently demanded a change in attitude from the U.S. and will want to find out how flexible the U.S. has become."
Just hours after the announcement, North Korea launched another projectile toward the East Sea early Wednesday. It was the 11th launch the North has conducted so far this year.
It was fired from Wonsan, Kangwon Province but no further details have been revealed.
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