SINGAPORE (BERNAMA) - This week, Singapore will again be the stage for major diplomacy on the Korea peace process, reports Yonhap news agency.
The top diplomats of more than two dozen nations, mostly from the Asia-Pacific region, are descending on Singapore for the annual Asean Regional Forum (ARF), at which North Korea has traditionally been a key issue.
The ARF, slated for Saturday (Aug 4), will be the highest-profile diplomatic event involving North Korea since its historic summit with the United States here on June 12.
South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha landed in Singapore on Tuesday night, briefly smiling in front of television cameras.
She pointed out that the mood is quite different from last year, when she made her ARF debut in Manila.
At that time, officials in Seoul were busy counting the number of missiles fired by the communist neighbour. They often woke up early in the morning for meetings to discuss countermeasures.
Recently, however, their focus has shifted to denuclearisation and a peace vision. They are working hard to mediate the declaration of a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War, saying it can be a starting point for a full-scale peace process.
Drawing attention is whether Ms Kang will meet bilaterally with the North's top diplomat Ri Yong Ho on the margins of the ARF. Mr Ri is expected to fly to Singapore on Friday.
During the previous ARF session hosted by the Philippines, they had no formal talks other than a minutes-long encounter.
Given the current reconciliation between the two Koreas, it would be rather odd should they skip one-on-one talks this time.
"(We) have offered a bilateral meeting (through a diplomatic channel). There's no response from the North Korean side yet," a South Korean Foreign Ministry official said.
While Ms Kang plans to hold talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, it's unclear whether the secretary will have a separate meeting with the North's minister.