North, South Korea agree to hold talks in Pyongyang

The meeting marks the latest step forward in cross-border ties

Photo: EPA South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon (R) shakes hands with North Korea`s chief delegate Ri Son-gwon (L) at the northern side truce village of Panmunjeom

The leaders of North and South Korea will hold a second summit in Pyongyang in September, both countries announced Monday. The upcoming summit marks the third in-person meeting between South Korean leader Moon Jae-in and his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong Un. The two first met in April, pledging to forge closer relations and work to formally end the Korean War in an agreement called the Panmunjom Declaration. They then held an impromptu meeting in May at the demilitarized zone that divides the two Koreas.

The announcement came after North and South Korean government officials held high-level talks at the border village Panmunjom, within the demilitarised zone. Ri Son Gwon, leader of the North Korean delegation and chairman of the North’s reunification committee, told reporters that almost all the "specific details" of the meeting are decided, including the date, but still declined to elaborate exactly when the meeting would be held.
"What's very important is that both governments do all they ought to do regarding progressing all the issues on the agenda," Ri said. "If the issues that were raised in the inter-Korea talks and individual meetings are not resolved, then unexpected problems could arise and all the items on the agenda could meet obstacles."

He also expressed hopes the planned summit would help give “concrete answers” to the problems people are facing. As analysts suggest, both leaders are 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. Moreover, Moon could try to act as a mediator between the US and North Korea on the denuclearisation issue.

After the summit Moon will become the third South Korean president to travel to Pyongyang ever, and the first head of the country to have met a North Korean leader more than once. 

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