South Korea sends high level envoys to North Korea to advance stalled talks

South Korea sends high level envoys to North Korea to advance stalled talks

Led by President Moon Jae-in’s top security adviser, Chung Eui-Yong, a South Korean delegation will travel to North Korea today

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Photo: Reuters

Led by President Moon Jae-in’s top security adviser, Chung Eui-Yong, a South Korean delegation will travel to North Korea today ahead of the third Inter-Korea summit set for later this month.

The envoys will discuss the summit, peninsular ties and the US-North Korea denuclearisation talks.

The talks stalled after the White House cancelled Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s August 31 trip to North Korea because of a “belligerent letter” sent to Pompeo. Substantively, the impasse is due to an end-of-war declaration that Pyongyang seeks—opening the way to a peace treaty. Washington will only agree on condition that Pyongyang shows its full nuclear and missile inventory. The same Chung-led team brokered the first Moon-Kim summit and later the Singapore Summit. Chung will carry a letter from Moon to Kim on the denuclearisation issue.

Ultimately, Seoul wants improved ties with Pyongyang. The envoys will push for a resumption of the US-North Korea talks and a joint end-of-war declaration with the US. Moon is clearly worried the disarmament talks may fail. Therefore, he may entice the North with more confidence-building measures like reconnecting  railway links, increasing family reunions and economic aid.

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