Koreas hold working-level meeting to plan summit
Officials from North and South Korea met Thursday to discuss the logistics of a rare summit later this month, which will see Kim Jong-un become the first North Korean leader to set foot in the South since the end of the Korean War.
Kim and the South’s president, Moon Jae-in, are due to meet on April 27 at the South’s side of the demilitarized zone for the landmark inter-Korean summit.
Thursday’s working-level meeting was aimed at ironing out the protocols, security measures and media coverage of the summit, the South’s presidential office said.
Attention is particularly on the mode of Kim’s transportation for the short trip from the North’s side of the military demarcation line to the South: on foot or by car.
The summit is set to take place at the South’s Peace House in the border truce village of Panmunjom.
The two sides will reportedly also discuss whether to allow live broadcasting of the summit for the first time.
The previous summits in 2000 and 2007 were recorded and aired later.
The five-member South Korean delegation Thursday was led by Kim Sang-gyun, a senior director from the National Intelligence Service, who met with Kim Chang-son, an official from the North’s state affairs commission and five other delegates.
This month’s summit will be only the third of its kind since the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice. Landmark talks between Kim and US President Donald Trump are reportedly planned for May.
The ongoing rapprochement was triggered by the South’s Winter Olympics, to which the North sent athletes, cheerleaders, and Kim’s sister as an envoy.
Kim has since embarked on a diplomatic overture that has seen him pencil in summit meetings with the South and the US and make his international debut with a visit to Beijing — his first overseas trip since taking power in 2011.
The rapid diplomatic thaw on the peninsula has even seen Kim and his wife attend a concert put on by South Korean pop stars in the North’s capital.
Officials from the two sides will meet again Saturday for another round of working-level talks to discuss setting up a hotline between the leaders of North and South Korea.