Koreas open joint liaison office

18 September, 2018, 09:31 | Author: Donnie King
  • A North Korean soldier patrols at the truce village of Panmunjom

The second, an emergency one in May, helped ensure a historic meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump came off.

The liaison office will be launched in the North's border town of Kaesong, with around 50 people each from the two Koreas expected to attend the opening ceremony that will start at 10:30 a.m., according to the ministry.

The two Koreas have sought to pursue joint projects in multiple fields since the April summit between Moon and the North's leader Kim Jong Un in the Demilitarized Zone that divides the peninsula, even as U.S. efforts to secure concrete progress towards Pyongyang's denuclearisation have stalled.

"Eighty tons of heavy oil in Kaesong is for the consumption of South Korea officials", Moon, who also noted that Seoul contacted the United Nations sanctions committee over the issue, said.

Washington and Pyongyang have been discussing North Korea's nuclear programs since a landmark meeting between Trump and Kim in Singapore in June.

"The inter-Korean joint liaison office is a channel for round-the-clock communication in the new era of peace", South Korea's Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon said in a congratulatory speech that was reported by a press pool at the scene.

The two will hold weekly meetings, the inter-Korean agreement said, with additional talks possible if needed.

The four-storey building includes separate Northern and Southern offices and a joint conference room, and Seoul's unification ministry said it would become a "round-the-clock consultation and communication channel" for advancing inter-Korean relations, improving ties between the United States and the North, and easing military tensions.

Launched in 2004, the Kaesong industrial park was hailed as a key symbol of economic cooperation between the Koreas as it combined South Korean capital and technology with cheap labor from the North.

Washington has been apparently opposed to the resumption of its operation as it could run counter to sanctions imposed against North Korea. He has also dismantled his nuclear and rocket-engine testing sites.

Negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang have sputtered in recent weeks, raising doubts about whether Kim is truly willing to relinquish his nuclear arsenal and putting pressure on Moon to broker progress once again.

But nuclear diplomacy later became stalemated as U.S. officials demanded Kim take more significant steps before receiving concessions such as a joint declaration to end the Korean War. He said he will focus on facilitating talks between the United States and North Korea and finding ways to ease the military standoff along the Koreas' heavily fortified border.

Meanwhile, the two Koreas kicked off working-level talks at the truce village of Panmunjom Friday morning to discuss protocol, security, communications, and media coverage of next week's summit. It did not specify which other parts of the event would be broadcast live.



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