North Korea releases list of delegates for Panmunjom talks

North Korea releases list of delegates for Panmunjom talks

March 28 (UPI) — North Korea has released a list of delegates who are to meet with South Korean officials on Thursday, according to Seoul.

The high-level talks, the first of its kind to take place following the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, are to be held in Panmunjom in order to draw plans for the April summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.

The North Korean delegation includes Ri Son Gwon, chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland; Jon Jong Su, North Korea’s chief delegate during talks in January; and Kim Myong Il, vice chairman of reunification committee, Yonhap reported Wednesday.

South Korea representatives include Unification Minister Cho Myung-gyun, Vice Minister Chun Hae-sung and Yoon Young-chan, a presidential aide.

The two sides are meeting to set a final date for the North-South summit to be held at Panmunjom.

Kim had suggested Pyongyang, but Moon had offered to meet at the truce village instead.

Kim’s preliminary summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping has taken Seoul by surprise, and complicates détente on the peninsula, according to South Korean analysts.

Ahn Jung-sik, a North Korea specialist at television network SBS, said Wednesday China’s show of support for North Korea at a period of delicate transition could also mean the issue of denuclearization could become more complicated at upcoming summits with South Korea and the United States.

China invited the North Korean leader to clarify to rivals it is “not out of the picture” despite relative lack of involvement at the initial stages of engagement, Ahn said.

Kim reportedly said reaffirming North Korea’s friendship with China is a “noble obligation,” according to SBS.