S.Korea, DPRK agree to hold military, Red Cross, sports talks in June

Li Jiayao

SEOUL, June 1 (Xinhua) -- South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) agreed Friday to hold talks later this month about military affairs, humanitarian issues and sports exchange.

The agreement was reached after high-level officials from the two sides met at the border village of Panmunjom to discuss the implementation of the Panmunjom Declaration.

The Panmunjom Declaration was signed by South Korean President Moon Jae-in and top DPRK leader Kim Jong Un after holding their first summit on April 27. The second surprise summit was held between the leaders on May 26.

Following the high-level inter-Korean dialogue, the two sides agreed to hold a general-level military talks on June 14 at Tongilgak, a DPRK building in Panmunjom that straddles the heavily armed inter-Korean land border.

The military dialogue would be aimed at easing military tensions between the two Koreas. If held as agreed upon, it would become the first general-level military talks between the two sides since December 2007.

At the April 27 summit, Moon and Kim agreed to change the demilitarized zone (DMZ) dividing the Koreas into an actual peace zone and alter the northern limit line (NLL), which is seen as a maritime border, into peace waters.

To resolve the humanitarian issues, Seoul and Pyongyang agreed to hold a Red Cross dialogue on June 22 in Mount Kumgang, a scenic resort mountain in the DPRK's southeastern region.

The Red Cross contact would discuss the reunion of Korean families separated across the border since the 1950-53 Korean War ended with armistice.

The Korean families have been banned from visiting and contacting each other since the end of the war. The Korean Peninsula remains technically at war since the war ended with armistice.

Under the Panmunjom Declaration, the leaders of the Koreas agreed to complete denuclearization and the alteration of the armistice agreement into a peace treaty by the end of this year.

To enhance inter-Korean sports exchange, the two sides agreed to hold talks on June 18 at Peace House, a building controlled by South Korea in Panmunjom.

The sports talks would discuss the joint participation by the two Koreas into an upcoming Asian Games.

South Korea and the DPRK agreed to set up a joint liaison office in the DPRK's border town of Kaesong in the near future.

The Kaesong industrial complex, the last remaining symbol of the inter-Korean economic cooperation, was closed down in February 2016 by the previous South Korean government over the DPRK's nuclear test.

The two Koreas agreed to continue discussions via exchange of letters about how to hold a joint event to celebrate the first-ever inter-Korean summit in the South Korean side.

The first inter-Korean summit was held in Pyongyang in June 2000. Then South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and late DPRK leader Kim Jong Il, father of the current leader, signed the June 15 Joint Declaration after the summit.

For the high-level talks, the five-member South Korean delegation was headed by Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon.

Ri Son Gwon, chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, led the DPRK delegation.

The series of inter-Korean talks on military, humanitarian and sports issues would come amid rising expectation for the first-ever DPRK-U.S. summit to be held on June 12 in Singapore as scheduled.

Negotiations were underway between Pyongyang and Washington to stick to the scheduled summit between Kim, the DPRK leader, and U.S. President Donald Trump.



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