MIke Pompeo and Moon Jae-in

South Korean Spy Chief, Security Head to Visit North Korea

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with Republic of Korea President Moon Jae-in, in Seoul, Republic of Korea. June 13, 2018. Credit: Wikimedia Commons/U.S. Department of State

High-ranking officials from South Korea are bound to the north this week.

President Moon Jae-in has ordered his top spy and national security adviser as special envoys to a mission to Pyongyang on Wednesday. The high-level delegation is traveling to North Korea in preparation for a potential inter-Korean summit to be held this month.

Whether the South Korean envoy will have a meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un or not is still unclear, Yonhap News Agency reports. News of the visit comes after U.S. President Donald Trump abruptly called off Secretary of State Michael Pompeo’s planned trip to the hermit nation.

According to Blue House spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom, the date of the inter-Korean summit will likely be discussed during the special envoy’s visit. Also expected to be discussed are the denuclearization of North Korea, as well as agendas for the declaration of the end of the war.

Moon and Kim have met face-to-face twice so far. The first time was in April during a summit at the border truce village of Panmunjom. The event was considered a historic one, as it was the first time a North Korean leader had crossed into the South since the Korean peninsula was officially divided during the 1950-53 war.

In May, the two leaders met again as they tried to make arrangements for a summit between Trump and Kim in Singapore. They have since agreed to have another meeting in Pyongyang scheduled for this month.

“President Moon is aware that if he sits idle, the situation could become bleak. He must now be talking and co-ordinating with the US on what he can offer Mr. Kim during the inter-Korean summit,” Kim Yeol-soo, a policy adviser in the National Security Office, stated.

Kim added, “The silver lining is that when Seoul suggested sending the special envoys to the North this week, Pyongyang readily accepted, suggesting they are also frustrated with the current situation. The North needs someone to deliver their messages to the US.”


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