Seoul preparing to discuss major issues with North Korea in April summit

By Jennie Oh  |  March 13, 2018 at 6:06 AM
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SEOUL, March 13 (UPI) -- Ahead of the anticipated inter-Korean summit slated for late April, the South Korean government is preparing to launch working-level talks with North Korea as early as next week, News 1 reported.

A Unification Ministry official told reporters Tuesday that Seoul will begin consulting the North on the logistics of the meeting, as well as major topics of discussion, once internal preparations are complete.

An organizing committee is being formed between various government bodies, including the National Intelligence Service and the ministries of unification, foreign affairs, culture and defense.

After President Moon Jae-in's special envoys announced that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called for an inter-Korean summit, the first to be held in more than a decade, observers expect the two heads of state to discuss numerous pending issues.

While the most pressing agenda for Seoul would be the complete and verifiable denuclearization of the North, practical negotiations are expected to take place in the summit between Kim and President Donald Trump the following month.

In the meantime, the South and North are likely to discuss ways to defuse military tensions along the military demarcation line, such as enforcing arms control and reducing troops on both sides. The two sides could also suggest preventing clashes in the West Sea as well as provocative actions and the establishment of a joint fishing zone.

Moon and Kim are likely to discuss economic cooperation, such as resuming tourism in the North's Mount Kumgang and reopening the inter-Korean Kaesong Industrial Complex, which closed in 2016.

A full-fledged agreement on reunions of family members separated by the 1950-53 war is also highly anticipated by the South Korean public.

Previous inter-Korean summits in 2000 and 2007 were held in Pyongyang for three days.

However, the upcoming April summit is likely to be shorter. Moon and Kim will meet halfway at the Peace House in the border village of Panmunjom, a unification ministry official said.

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