Moon to send special envoy to N. Korea next week for summit preparation
SEOUL, Aug. 31 (Yonhap) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in will send a special envoy to North Korea next week to arrange his scheduled summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and also discuss ways to move forward the stalled denuclearization of the communist state, Seoul's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said Friday.
The special envoy will travel to Pyongyang on Wednesday, Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said, without elaborating on the duration of the trip.
Moon has yet to name his special envoy, he added.
Seoul made the proposal to send a special envoy to North Korea early Friday, the Cheong Wa Dae spokesman said.
North Korea accepted the offer in a telegram sent in the afternoon.
The two Koreas agreed to hold a meeting between Moon and Kim in Pyongyang before the end of next month during high-level dialogue earlier this month, but no follow-up discussions have been held since.
"The special envoy will discuss a wide range of issues, including the specific date for the South-North Korea summit, development of the South-North Korean relationship, denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the establishment of peace on the Korean Peninsula," the spokesman told a press briefing.
Hong Ihk-pyo, a spokesman of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea, welcomed the news by calling it "a good choice at an appropriate time."
"Inter-Korean relations are in a difficult phase, so if a special envoy could meet Chairman Kim Jong-un, there will be some good results," he said, "We expect it to serve as a good chance to create a positive atmosphere in inter-Korean relations."
The minor opposition Bareunmirae also hailed the news.
Its spokesman Lee Jong-chul said the party hoped the move would work as a breakthrough in the stalled denuclearization talks. He also called for the government to maintain close consultations with the U.S. on the matter.
The two Koreas technically remain at war as the 1950-53 Korean War ended only with an armistice, not a peace treaty.
Still, the scheduled visit by a South Korean envoy also comes amid an apparent impasse in denuclearization talks between the United States and North Korea.
U.S. President Donald Trump earlier called off a scheduled North Korea visit by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, citing what he called a lack of progress in the denuclearization process.
News reports have suggested the North may have demanded early rewards for the denuclearization steps it has taken so far.
The U.S., on the other hand, is said to have demanded a complete list of North Korea's nuclear arsenal, as well as the outbound shipment of some 60 percent of the North Korean stockpile.
Moon has repeatedly called for sincere efforts on all sides to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.
His trip to Pyongyang, if made, will be the first of his presidency, though he briefly crossed the inter-Korean border when he met Kim in the border village of Panmunjom inside the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone on April 27.
The upcoming Moon-Kim summit will be the third of its kind as the two leaders met again in Panmunjom on May 26.
Trump has expressed his willingness to meet with the North Korean leader again, depending on how faithfully he implements his denuclearization commitment made in their historic first summit, held in Singapore on June 12.
Source: Yonhap News Agency