Moon’s top adviser to lead team on North Korea trip

Mr Kim Jong Un (right) with Mr Chung Eui-yong in Pyongyang in a photo taken in March.
Mr Kim Jong Un (right) with Mr Chung Eui-yong in Pyongyang in a photo taken in March. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

SEOUL • A high-level South Korean delegation will fly to North Korea this week to discuss arrangements for an inter-Korea summit there this month, as relations grow cooler between Washington and Pyongyang.

The South's President Moon Jaein yesterday named his top security adviser as a special envoy to the North to discuss details before Mr Moon's planned meeting in Pyongyang with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Mr Chung Eui-yong, head of the presidential National Security Office, will lead a five-member delegation to the North's capital on Wednesday, presidential spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said.

It will be Mr Chung's second visit to the North since March, when he headed the same five-member team to arrange the first summit between Mr Moon and Mr Kim, and met the North Korean leader.

The spokesman said it was unclear whether the delegation would meet the North's leader this time around.

Mr Moon and Mr Kim have met face to face twice now, the first during a historic summit at the border truce village of Panmunjom in April.

It was the first time a North Korean leader had crossed into the South since the 1950-53 war sealed the division of the Korean peninsula.

They met a second time in Panmunjom in May as they scrambled to salvage plans for a summit between Mr Kim and US President Donald Trump in Singapore, which eventually went ahead on June 12.

Mr Moon and Mr Kim have since agreed to hold a third summit in Pyongyang at an unspecified date this month.

At the Singapore summit, the two leaders reached a vague agreement to work towards the "complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula", but there has been little movement since.

Pyongyang has slammed the US for its "gangster-like" demands for complete, verifiable and irreversible disarmament, and the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency reported there was no indication that the North had stopped its nuclear activities.

Last month, Mr Trump ordered Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to abruptly cancel a planned trip to Pyongyang, citing lack of progress on denuclearisation.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 03, 2018, with the headline 'Moon’s top adviser to lead team on North Korea trip'. Print Edition | Subscribe