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South Korea's Moon Jae-in will not attend Russian forum, Seoul says

By Elizabeth Shim
South Korea's Moon Jae-in will not attend Russian forum, Seoul says
South Korean President Moon Jae-in is to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sometime in September. EPA-EFE/YONHAP SOUTH KOREA OUT

Aug. 28 (UPI) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in has declined to attend the Russia-hosted Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, as a potential third summit with Kim Jong Un could take place sometime in September.

The decision means Moon's prime minster, Lee Nak-yeon, will instead meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and other world leaders at the annual gathering, South Korean news service Money Today reported Tuesday.

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The Eastern Economic Forum will take place Sept. 10-12.

"Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon will attend the Eastern Economic Forum," said presidential Blue House spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom on Tuesday.

Kim said Moon sent a letter to Putin requesting the Russian leader's "understanding" of circumstances.

South Korea's National Assembly has submitted a query regarding Lee's schedule.

The prime minister was due to attend an interpellation session in parliament at the time of the forum.

Kim suggested Tuesday Lee's schedule might not be able to accommodate the requests from parliament.

"I would be grateful if the National Assembly showed more flexibility regarding the prime minister's attendance at the interpellation session," Kim said.

North and South have agreed to meet in September in Pyongyang, but the date of the third summit has yet to be determined.

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The Blue House said Tuesday no changes to summit plans have been made since U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted his decision to cancel U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's trip to North Korea, citing lack of progress on denuclearization.

According to Yonhap on Tuesday, the Blue House spokesman said plans for the inter-Korea summit would not be affected by changes in working-level meetings.

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