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  HOME | World (Click here for more)

Seoul to Send Intelligence Chief, Security Adviser to Pyongyang

SEOUL – South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in has selected the National Intelligence Service chief and the National Security Office head to visit Pyongyang soon, the presidential office announced on Sunday.

National Security Office (NSO) chief, Chung Eui-yong, will head the five-member delegation, which will also include Suh Hoon, chief of the National Intelligence Service (NIS), Chun Hae-sung, vice minister of unification, Yun Kun-young, a Cheong Wa Dae official, and Kim Sang-gyun, a senior NIS official, according to Seoul.

The delegation is set to leave on Monday on a two-day visit, taking a special direct flight to Pyongyang, where it is scheduled to meet North Korea’s top officials to discuss ways to foster inter-Korean relations, Moon’s chief press secretary Yoon Young-chan said at a press briefing on Sunday.

Besides inter-Korean relations, they “will hold discussions on the creation of conditions for North Korea-US dialogue aimed at denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the development of South-North Korea relations,” according to Yoon, the South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.

The South Korean officials will also visit the United States in the near future to explain the outcome of their visit, he added.

Chung, Moon’s top security adviser, has played a key role in maintaining close coordination with US President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, while Suh, with 30 years experience at different levels in the NIS, is known for his role in arranging two landmark inter-Korean summits, in 2000 and 2007 in Pyongyang.

On Thursday, Moon communicated to Trump his plan to send his representatives to Pyongyang, a high-level mission that seeks to reciprocate the visit of the North Korean special envoy Kim Yo-jong, sister of the North Korean leader, to South Korea on the occasion of the opening of the Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang.

Kim Yo-jong’s visit ended with an invitation to South Korea’s president to visit Pyongyang for an inter-Korean summit, which would be the first in 11 years. Another North Korean delegation that visited the South for the closing of the Games, said that the North is open to dialogue with the US.

The US insists that North Korea must show a firm commitment to denuclearization before initiating dialogue, while Pyongyang said on Saturday that it would not accept preconditions.

Seoul believes the recent thaw in relations between the two Koreas could lead Washington and Pyongyang to the negotiating table after 2017 was marked by North Korea’s repeated weapons tests and verbal threats between the two countries.

 

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