Moon's Chief Envoy to North: Will Deliver President's Determination for Denuclearization

  • Moon's Chief Envoy to North: Will Deliver President's Determination for Denuclearization

Moon's Chief Envoy to North: Will Deliver President's Determination for Denuclearization

National Security Office (NSO) head Chung Eui-yong and National Intelligence Service (NIS) chief Suh Hoon, who has spearheaded inter-Korea negotiations in the past, will head to Pyongyang on Monday, 5 March, for a two-day trip.

After its Pyongyang trip, the delegation is to visit Washington to brief USA officials about its talks with the North Korean officials, senior presidential official Yoon Young-chan said at a televised news conference.

The delegation will meet senior North Korean officials to discuss improving inter-Korean relations, as well as creating an environment for talks between North Korea and the United States on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

"Most of all, I will deliver President Moon Jae-in's honest and firm resolution to maintain the dialogue and improvement in relations between the South and the North, which were fostered on the occasion of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula", Chung Eui-yong told a press briefing.

A reasonable assumption at this point is that Seoul's special envoy will also carry a written message from South Korean President Moon to the North's Kim and the extensive discussions will include the possibility of a crossborder summit between the two leaders.

North Korea has not carried out any weapons tests since late November, when it tested its largest intercontinental ballistic missile. Suh, known as a specialist on North Korea, coordinated summits between the two Koreas in 2000 and 2007.

A North Korea official has threatened the USA yet again, promising "its own mode of counteraction" if the US takes part in joint military exercises with South Korea in the coming months. South Korea, the host of the games, credits Trump's "strong attitude" for North Korea's attendance, he said.

In a meeting with North Korean General Kim Yong Chol on Sunday, Moon also urged the North to open dialogue with the United States as soon as possible - to which Kim responded by saying the North was "very willing" to hold talks.

A majority of North Koreans are against their country's nuclear weapon programme saying that it is not a source of national pride and prosperity, according to a survey done by the United States (US)-based think tank.

North Korea has slammed Trump's unilateral sanctions against it, but it said it was open to talks with the United States during senior North Korean officials' visit to South Korea for the Olympics last month. High-ranking officials of North Korea, including the sister of the leader of North Korea was to meet with Vice-President Mike Pence.

The White House's statement following the Trump-Moon phone conversation said the two leaders "noted their firm position that any dialogue with North Korea must be conducted with the explicit and unwavering goal of complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization".

Moon, who advocated dialogue with the nuclear-armed regime, said last week that Washington needed to "lower the threshold for talks" with Pyongyang.

However, Washington says it will not have dialogue with Pyongyang unless "a right condition is met" and will keep watching to see if Pyongyang has any intention to abandon its nuclear and missile program.