South Korea to send envoys to North Korea to discuss ties, talks

By Jennie Oh
South Korea to send envoys to North Korea to discuss ties, talks
South Korean soldier with the United Nations Command Security Battalion stands guard facing the Panmungak Building on the North Korean side of the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) at the the Joint Security Area (JSA) inside the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on the South Korea, North Korea Border on February 6, 2018. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

March 4 (UPI) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in will send a special delegation to North Korea on Monday to discuss inter-Korean relations as well as the possibility of dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang.

Seoul's presidential office announced Sunday that Moon's national security adviser Chung Eui-yong will lead the five-member delegation, Chosun Ilbo reported.


The country's National Intelligence Service (NIS) Director Suh Hoon was selected as one the envoys. The intelligence chief is known for his role in secret negotiations with North Korea which helped set up two inter-Korean summits in the 2000s, according to Yonhap.

The delegation also includes NIS official Kim Sang-gyun, Vice Unification Minister Chun Hae-sung, and Yun Kyun-young, a presidential official on state affairs.

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The team will fly directly to Pyongyang on Monday afternoon for the two-day trip, during which they are expected to meet high-level North Korean officials "to discuss ways to establish peace on the Korean Peninsula and develop cross-border ties," according to Yoon Young-chan, a senior press secretary for the presidential office.

"The delegation, in particular, will hold comprehensive talks on creating conditions for U.S.-North Korea dialogue for the denuclearization of the peninsula and improving South-North relations," he said.


After returning to the South on Tuesday afternoon for a debrief, the delegation will visit the United States to share the outcome of the meeting, Yoon added.

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South Korea has been pushing for dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang to broker peace on the Korean peninsula as well as talks on dismantling the North's nuclear program.

However, the possibility of such talks or whether North will change its behaviour still remains unclear.

While a senior North Korean official said the door for dialogue with Washington is open, during his trip to Seoul last week, state media reports have recently asserted the regime is "not begging for talks," rejecting Washington's precondition of committing to denuclearization.

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Meanwhile, the U.S. maintains its maximum pressure policy on North Korea, as it remains wary of the regime which has demanded recognition as a nuclear state.

Despite the relatively peaceful atmosphere between South and North Korea, Pyongyang appears to have continued making progress on its nuclear ballistic missiles during the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, CNN reported Saturday.

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