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Korean Officials Talk in North’s Capital to Set Up Summit

Korean Officials Talk in North’s Capital to Set Up SummitKorean Officials Talk in North’s Capital to Set Up Summit

A South Korean presidential delegation met with North Korean officials Wednesday for talks to arrange a summit planned later this month and help rescue faltering nuclear diplomacy between Washington and Pyongyang.

The envoys began their trip with a short meeting with senior North Korean officials Kim Yong-chol, a former spy chief who has been negotiating with the United States on nuclear issues, and Ri Son-gwon, chairman of the North’s agency that handles inter-Korean affairs, at Pyongyang’s Koryo hotel, AP reported.

They later moved to a different location for more talks, but it was unclear whether the South Korean officials would get to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un before flying back to the South later Wednesday, according to the office of South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

Moon’s office said the delegation led by his national security adviser will be carrying a personal letter for Kim. Moon said the envoys are tasked with a crucial role at a “very important time” that could determine the prospects for lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.

While pushing ahead with summits and inter-Korean engagement, Seoul is trying to persuade Washington and Pyongyang to proceed with peace and denuclearization processes at the same time so they can overcome a growing dispute over the sequencing of the diplomacy.

Seoul also wants a trilateral summit between the countries, or a four-nation meeting that also includes Beijing, to declare a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War. The UN General Assembly in late September would be an ideal date for Seoul, but many analysts see that possibility as low, considering the complications of the process and how far apart the parties currently are.

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