Date
16 August 2018
People work on a rice field at the propaganda village of Gijungdong in North Korea, in this April 11 picture taken near the truce village of Panmunjom. Photo: Reuters
People work on a rice field at the propaganda village of Gijungdong in North Korea, in this April 11 picture taken near the truce village of Panmunjom. Photo: Reuters

Two Koreas to hold talks as North prepares to shut test site

The two Koreas agreed to hold high-level talks on Wednesday to discuss steps needed to uphold the pledge to denuclearize the Korean peninsula, Reuters reports, citing a statement from South Korea’s Unification Ministry.

The meeting will discuss specific plans needed to carry out the April 27 inter-Korea summit declaration, which includes pledges to finally end a seven-decade war this year, and pursue “complete denuclearization”.

North Korea has scheduled the dismantlement of its nuclear bomb test site for sometime between May 23 and 25 in order to uphold its pledge to discontinue nuclear tests, the country’s state media reported on Saturday, a month ahead of a planned North Korea-US summit in Singapore.

On Tuesday, Pyongyang invited one news agency and one television broadcaster from South Korea to observe the shutdown, the South’s Ministry of Unification said.

South Koreans cannot visit North Korea without an invitation from the North and government approval from the South.

Wednesday’s meeting will take place at the Peace House in Panmunjom, where the two sides signed their joint declaration last month, the Unification Ministry said.

“Through these high-level talks we will negotiate and implement measures to carry out the Panmunjom Declaration and build sustainable development for inter-Korean relations and permanent peace on the Korean peninsula,” the ministry said.

South Korea’s Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon will lead a team of five at the talks.

North Korea’s 29-member delegation will be led by Ri Son-gwon, chairman of its “Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the country”. Also in the delegation will be Kim Yun-hyok, vice minister of railways, and Won Kil-u, vice minister of physical culture and sports.

US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will meet on June 12, a scenario that seemed improbable given the insults and threats exchanged between the two leaders in the past year.

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CG

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