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SEOUL, August 17, 2018 (MENA) - South and North Korea have agreed to hold a summit meeting between their leaders in Pyongyang in September, Yonhap News Agency reported on Friday.

The agreement has been made during high-level talks on the northern side of Panmunjom that separates the two Koreas. They, however, did not unveil the date of the meeting.

"We agreed to hold an inter-Korean summit within September in Pyongyang," the two Koreas said in a joint press statement issued after the meeting.

North Korea's chief delegate, Ri Son-gwon, hinted after the meeting that the two sides agreed on a date but decided not to announce it, only to emphasize that the summit will take place "within September."

SEOUL, August 13, 2018 (Reuters) - North and South Korea agreed on Monday to hold a summit in the North in September, another step towards boosting co-operation between the old rivals, even as doubts grow over efforts to end the North’s nuclear weapons programme.

Officials from both sides meeting in the truce village of Panmunjom, in the demilitarised zone (DMZ) that separates the two Koreas, reached an agreement on a September summit between the countries' leaders in the North’s capital of Pyongyang.

No date was announced for what will be the third meeting this year between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

They first met in April in Panmunjom, a remarkable thaw in ties after more than a year of rising tension and fears of war over the North’s development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

There they agreed that Moon would visit the North’s capital in the autumn, though the pair met again in May in an unannounced meeting at Panmunjom.

No details on an agenda for next month’s talks were announced, but the two Koreas have been discussing a range of issues, from a possible peace declaration to joint economic and infrastructure projects.

The progress between the two Koreas comes as North Korea and the United States are struggling to agree on how to bring about the North’s denuclearisation, after Kim vowed to work towards that goal at a landmark summit in June in Singapore with US President Donald Trump.

US officials have told Reuters that North Korea had yet to agree to a timeline for eliminating its nuclear arsenal or to disclose its size, which US estimates have put at between 30 and 60 warheads.

After Monday’s talks, Ri Son Gwon, the chairman of a North Korean committee aiming for the “peaceful reunification” of the peninsula, told reporters it was important to clear “obstacles” preventing inter-Korean relations from moving forwards.

“If the issues that were raised at the talks aren’t resolved, unexpected problems could emerge and the issues that are already on the schedule may face difficulties,” Ri said, without giving details.

SEOUL, August 11, 2018 (MENA) - South Korea's Defense Minister Song Young-moo has held talks with his Indian counterpart, Nirmala Sitharaman, to discuss ways to expand bilateral ties and collaboration for North Korea's denuclearization, Yonhap news agency reported on Saturday.

During the talks, which took place in India on Friday, they agreed to promptly hold the 2+2 dialogue involving the two countries' foreign and defense ministries, according to the Ministry of Defense.

Song called for cooperation and support from the international community, including India, to achieve denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.

The Indian defense minister said in response she shares the need for close ties between the two countries.

 

 

SEOUL, South Korea , August 10, 2018 (News Wires) - The rival Koreas plan to hold high-level talks on Monday to prepare for a third summit between their leaders, as Pyongyang called on the United States to reciprocate its "goodwill measures" by easing sanctions and stopping demands that the North denuclearize first.

The plans by the Korean leaders to meet come as Washington and Pyongyang try to follow through on nuclear disarmament vows made at a US-North Korea summit in June between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

In the most recent sign of growing frustration between Washington and Pyongyang, North Korea criticized senior American officials for insisting that North Korea give up its nuclear weapons first before easing sanctions. Notably, the statement didn't directly criticize Trump.

North Korea said in a statement Thursday that "some high-level officials within the US administration" were making "desperate attempts at intensifying the international sanctions and pressure."

"We hoped that these goodwill measures would contribute to breaking down the high barrier of mistrust" between Pyongyang and Washington, the North's Foreign Ministry spokesperson said. "However, the US responded to our expectation by inciting international sanctions and pressure."

Those American officials are "going against the intention of President Trump to advance the DPRK-US relations, who is expressing gratitude to our goodwill measures for implementing the DPRK-US joint statement," it said referring to the North by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Washington has said that sanctions will not be lifted until Pyongyang fully and finally dismantles its nuclear weapons. Some experts say that North Korea does not want to denuclearize first or maybe denuclearize at all because it wants a long, drawn-out process that sees external aid shipped in in return for abandoning nuclear weapons.

Pyongyang has also stepped up its calls for a formal end to the Korean War, which some analysts believe is meant to be the first step in the North's effort to eventually see all 28,500 US troops leave the Korean Peninsula.

A South Korean official at the Unification Ministry, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of office rules, said the two Koreas will also discuss on Monday ways to push through tension-reducing agreements made during an earlier summit between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Among the agreements was holding another inter-Korean summit in the fall in Pyongyang.

 

SEOUL, August 4, 2018 (MENA) - The top diplomats of South Korea and the United States held one-on-one talks in Singapore on Saturday on North Korea and alliance issues on the sidelines of ASEAN-hosted annual sessions, Yonhap news agency reported.

The meeting between South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo came amid indications of trouble in efforts for the "complete denuclearization" of Korea under the April 27 inter-Korean summit and the June 12 talks between the leaders of the US and the North.

The South's minister briefed Pompeo on the latest developments of inter-Korean relations and future steps, according to her ministry.

 

 

SEOUL, July 31, 2018 (News Wires) - North and South Korea held military talks to build trust on Tuesday, while the United States detected renewed activity at a North Korean missile factory, casting more suspicion over the North's intentions.

The meeting, their second since June, held in the border village of Panmunjom in the demilitarised zone (DMZ), was designed to follow on from an inter-Korean summit in April at which leaders of the two Koreas agreed to defuse tensions and halt "all hostile acts."

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un also vowed during his separate summit with US President Donald Trump in Singapore last month to work towards denuclearisation, but there has not been a concrete agreement to accomplish that goal.

Kim Do-gyun, the South's chief negotiator who is in charge of North Korea policy at the defence ministry, told reporters before leaving for the DMZ that he would make efforts to craft "substantive" measures to ease tensions and build trust.

The two sides are expected to discuss a possible cut in firearms and personnel stationed at the DMZ, as well as a joint excavation of the remains of soldiers killed in the 1950-53 Korean War.

South Korea's defence ministry said last week it plans to reduce guard posts and equipment along the heavily fortified border as an initial step to implement the agreement.

Ahn Ik-san, the general leading the North Korean delegation at the military talks, noted South Korean news reports suggesting that he might try to persuade the South to push for a joint declaration with the United States to formally end the war.

"Before determining whether it is true or not, I realised the people of the North and South regard our talks as important," Ahn said at the start of the meeting.

"And it also emphasised the sense of duty of the times, and the role given to the military in the efforts of the North and South for peace and prosperity."

The Korean War ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty, leaving the US-led United Nations forces including South Korea technically still at war with the North.

Pyongyang sees an official end to war as crucial to lowering tensions. It accused US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of making a "gangster-like" demand for denuclearisation during his visit to Pyongyang earlier this month, while rejecting its wish to discuss declaring an end to the conflict.

The US State Department has said it is committed to building a peace mechanism in place of the armistice when the North denuclearises.

Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi had traveled to South Korea “not long ago” and held talks with Chung Eui-yong, Director of the National Security Office, Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a regular news briefing on Tuesday,

The two discussed various bilateral issues, officials said, but neither Beijing nor Seoul confirmed whether they discussed a declaration ending the war.

A senior official at South Korea's presidential Blue House said Seoul is open to China's involvement in any peace agreement, but said no decisions had been made.

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