Advertisement

Two Koreas 'skip lunch' to discuss cooperation, exchange

By
Elizabeth Shim
North Korea’s Ri Son Gwon (C), chairman of the Committee for Peaceful Reunification, returns to the North after Friday talks at Panmunjom. Photo by Yonhap
North Korea’s Ri Son Gwon (C), chairman of the Committee for Peaceful Reunification, returns to the North after Friday talks at Panmunjom. Photo by Yonhap

June 1 (UPI) -- North and South Korea held a marathon session of talks at Panmunjom on Friday, ahead of a senior North Korean official's possible visit to the White House.

The talks focused on civic exchange, including a planned family reunion on Aug. 15, and a joint entry of both teams at the upcoming 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Yonhap reported.

Advertisement

Talks were also necessary ahead of plans to establish a joint liaison office, said the South's Unification Minister Cho Myung-gyun.

The talks lasted about 7 hours, and delegates of both sides skipped lunch to keep working, according to the report.

RELATED Russia, Austria vow to improve strategic energy ties

The two sides adopted a joint press release statement at 3 p.m., and the length of the talks began to raise speculation whether the delegates were having trouble with cooperation.

But North Korea's Ri Son Gwon, chairman of the Committee for Peaceful Reunification, said he approved of the progress at Panmunjom Friday, according to Yonhap.

"It would be good for all to not think North and South delegates go to work only after eating, but are constantly exerting themselves as they work," Ri said, addressing South Korean journalists.

RELATED For South Korean Christians, reunification with North is a religious goal

Ahead of talks on Friday there was speculation the issue of 12 North Korean waitresses in the South would be raised.

North Korea has claimed the women were abducted but the South says they resettled of their own free will.

Cho said the issue of the waitresses was not raised at the talks, and that the North also did not make an issue of joint exercises with the United States.

RELATED Smoke from North Korea's Yongbyon reactor raises questions

The unification minister did say the issue of detained South Korean citizens was raised at the meeting.

The North said it would "review" the status of the six captives, according to News 1.

In a separate meeting at Panmunjom, North Koreans met with U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim on Friday.

Kim, who spoke to reporters after the meeting, said all meetings in New York, Singapore and Panmunjom, are moving in the right direction, SP News reported.

Kim also said the meets mark a very important moment on the Korean Peninsula, according to the report.

Latest Headlines