North Korea Deploys Diplomats to South Korea, China in Anticipation of Trump Meeting

Xi Jinping (R) shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (L) in the Chinese city of Dalian earlier in May

Both North Korea and South Korea will engage in bilateral talks this Wednesday with the aim of achieving “lasting peace,” South Korea’s foreign ministry has announced.

The two sides will send a five-member delegation to the talks, which will take place in the truce village of Panmunjom.

The leader of the North’s delegation will be Ri Son-kwon, chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country, accompanied by Vice Railroad Minister Kim Yun-hyok, Vice Sports Minister Won Kil-u, and a delegation of over 20 staff members and journalists.

On the South Korean side, the delegation will be led by Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon alongside Vice Transportation Minister Kim Jeong-ryeol, vice cultural Minister Roh Tae-kang, and Vice Minister of the Korea Forest Service Ryu Kwang-soo.

“Through the inter-Korean high-level talks, (we) will push to lay the groundwork for sustainable development and lasting peace by having in-depth discussions and faithfully implementing the Panmunjom Declaration,” the ministry said in a press release.

According to Yonhap, “The two Koreas will also likely discuss details related to arranging a joint event to mark the June 15 declaration adopted after the first inter-Korean summit in 2000.”

The meeting will also serve as an opportunity to discuss measures agreed on by South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un following their historic meeting last month, where the two men agreed to a “new era of peace” between the two nations still technically at war.

“As I stand here today I can see that South and North Koreans are the same people, they cannot be separated,” Kim Jong-un said during the summit. “We are compatriots. … We should not be confronting each other, we are the same people and should live in unity. I hope we will be able to live very peacefully in the future, as soon as possible.”

On Tuesday, South Korean media also reported that a “delegation of secretaries of North Korea’s municipal and provincial party committees” visited Beijing for talks with Chinese officials, which the Chosun Ibo claims is a sign “that Pyongyang-Beijing relations are recovering fast.”

The continuation of talks between North and South Korea as well as the United States is further evidence that the North is serious about its recent pledges to get rid of its nuclear weapons. Kim is even scheduled to meet Donald Trump next month in Singapore, which Trump claims the two leaders will ensure is a “very special moment for world peace.”

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