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Seoul making final preparations for Moon-Kim summit: Cheong Wa Dae

기사승인 2018.04.24  09:02:46

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Nearly everything has been set for the upcoming summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un with only the final touches now under way, officials from Seoul's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said Tuesday.

With only three days left until the historic summit, South Korea was set to hold a complete rehearsal for it, according to the officials.

On Wednesday, the divided Koreas will hold a final and joint rehearsal at the joint security area of Panmunjom, the venue for the third inter-Korean summit.

The final preparations come one day after working-level officials from both Koreas reached an agreement on details of what would likely be a monumental meeting between the leaders of the divided Koreas.

"The South and the North have held three rounds of working-level talks on protocol, security measures and media coverage of the April 27 summit at Panmunjom. Today, they reached a final agreement," said Kwun Hyuk-ki, a Cheong Wa Dae spokesman and also a member of South Korea's five-member delegation to the working-level dialogue.

The two Koreas earlier agreed to hold high-level dialogue to finalize their preparations for the summit. A Cheong Wa Dae official, speaking on condition of anonymity Tuesday, said such a round may be unnecessary given that most preparations have already been made and agreed upon.

What has been agreed is said to include even the littlest details, such as the time of the very first handshake between the two leaders and a very narrow and accurate line of passage for the North Korean leader when he crosses the inter-Korean border to the House of Peace, a South Korea-controlled facility at Panmunjom.

The upcoming summit will mark the first time, at least since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, that a North Korean leader has stepped on South Korean soil. The two Koreas technically remain at war as the Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.

On the same note, a planned telephone conversation between the two leaders before their meeting appears unnecessary, the Cheong Wa Dae official noted.

The official insisted a call before the summit would only be symbolic as the leaders are already scheduled to meet in person and discuss the most challenging issues, including the denuclearization of North Korea, that many say would take months, if not years, to resolve.

"And we are considering if such a symbolic event is really necessary at this point," the Cheong Wa Dae official said.

The North Korean leader has said his country may be willing to abandon its nuclear ambitions in exchange for a security guarantee.

In an apparent show of its commitment to denuclearization, the North's ruling Workers' Party last week declared a freeze of all nuclear and ballistic missile tests.

The decision came as Kim is also set to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump in May or early June for what will be the first-ever U.S.-North Korea summit.

Hwi Won edt@koreapost.com

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