South Korean officials may visit Pyongyang prior to next week's summit officials told Reuters Tuesday
17 April, 2018, 22:35
The statement would likely focus on issues of denuclearisation and peace on the Korean peninsula, and an improvement in relations not only between the two Koreas but also with other countries including the United States.
North Korean strongman Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in are scheduled to meet April 27 in Panmunjon, a border village, in the third-ever summit of leaders from the two Koreas. US officials have said those talks would focus on denuclearizing the North. A successful meeting between Moon and Kim could pave the way for one between Kim and American President Donald Trump - the first between a sitting American president and a North Korean leader.
No peace treaty has been signed to replace the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War, and the USA and North Korea have been at loggerheads since formal hostilities ceased.
Seoul and Pyongyang are discussing the wording of a possible joint statement to be released at the summit, Im said.
Im noted that past agreements to denuclearize were not realized, partly due to lack of USA support or consent.
"We expect the summit will confirm the denuclearisation will (of North Korea)", he added.
Asked about the report, a foreign ministry spokeswoman in Beijing said: "We are willing to maintain and strengthen high-level exchanges with the DPRK (North Korea), deepen strategic communication and expand exchanges and cooperation to benefit the people of both countries".
"Without US support and agreement, it will be hard to follow through on inter-Korean agreements".
A direct phone line between Moon and Kim may be connected around Friday, Moon's Chief of Staff Im Jong-seok said in a briefing on Tuesday, adding that it hasn't been decided when they will hold their first conversation. "Astana looks forward to serious outcomes of the forthcoming inter-Korean Summit and hopes the top-level meeting will become a breakthrough in relations between the two countries and help ease tensions in the Korean peninsula".
Discussions are underway about live coverage of part of the meeting, Im said.
North Korea and the rich, democratic South are technically still at war because their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty. The United States stations 28,500 troops in South Korea but denies any invasion plans.
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