August 14, 2018 09:52
A third summit between President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will be held in Pyongyang in September, officials from both sides told reporters after cross-border talks Monday.
Ri Son-gwon, the chairman of North Korea's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, told reporters, "The schedule is now fixed... But we decided not to announce the exact date to keep you guessing."
But Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon said, "The two sides agreed to have further negotiations on the specific date later depending on various factors." Asked why his announcement differed from Ri's, Cho said, "The two sides only agreed on 'a date sometime in September.'"
Later, Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom predicted that the summit will take place after Sept. 10, when North Korea completes massive celebrations of its 70th founding anniversary.
"Since it's being held in Pyongyang, the North will fix the date depending on the situation," he added.
Cheong Wa Dae had aimed to hold the summit in late August, before the celebrations bring everything to a standstill. But the North is already busy preparing a huge military parade and mass games to celebrate its anniversary on Sept. 9.
Seoul hopes to mediate in the stalled denuclearization talks between North Korea and the U.S., but Pyongyang seems to be in less of a hurry.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is also scheduled to visit North Korea again late this month, sources say, which may have clashed with South Korea's plans and removed any immediate urgency.
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