North, South Korea agree to summit in September

Cheryl Sanders
August 14, 2018

The two Koreas opened high-level talks on Monday to prepare for a third summit between the South's President Moon Jae-in and the North's leader Kim Jong Un, amid the diplomatic thaw on the peninsula.

It wasn't clear why Ri and Cho differed on the issue of the date, and Cho wouldn't answer a specific question about the discrepancy.

At the historic first summit between Moon and the North's leader Kim Jong Un in Panmunjom in April they agreed the South's president would visit Pyongyang during the autumn.

Afterwards the North's chief delegate Ri Son Gwon said the meeting had gone well and the date for the summit was "ready", but they had not announced it as "reporting would be more fun when reporters are curious".

Moon was part of the South Korean delegation which travelled to Pyongyang for the second inter-Korean summit held in October 2007.

While the US has backed the two Koreas' bilateral negotiations, the Trump administration has remained adamant that an official declaration that the Korea War is over - something the Kim regime wants - can only be negotiated as North Korea dismantles its nuclear program.

"We explained that we need to help North Korea-US talks progress quickly and that there needs to be an establishment of dynamic where the inter-Korean relationship and the North Korea-US relationship improves in cycles", he said.

The agreement was reached during high-level talks between the two sides at the Panmunjom border village on Monday. He earlier told the South Korean delegation in opening remarks that the Koreas were like very close friends with an unbreakable bond.

Although Trump touted his summit with Kim as a historic breakthrough, the nuclear-armed North has since criticised Washington for its "gangster-like" demands of complete, verifiable and irreversible disarmament. They met again in May in advance of Kim's summit with US President Donald Trump in Singapore.

Meanwhile the USA has urged the worldwide community to maintain tough sanctions on the isolated regime - Seoul has caught three South Korean firms importing coal and iron from the North past year in violation of the measures.

The meeting between Seoul and Pyongyang comes as experts see slow progress on efforts to disarm North Korea since the Singapore summit.

Both leaders are also expected to focus on hammering out a consensus on officially ending the 1950-53 Korean War, which concluded with an armistice instead of a peace treaty, at their planned third summit. On Monday, Harry Harris, the new U.S. ambassador to Seoul, said that it was too early to declare a formal end to the war or to lift sanctions.

The North has called for Seoul to fulfill its promise of declaring an end to the war as soon as possible, while the US has said that the North should take meaningful denuclearization steps first.

Other reports by iNewsToday