South, North Korea to arrange first phone call between leaders, prep for summit

SEOUL, April 8 (UPI) — South and North Korean officials are set to hold one or two more working-level meetings to arrange the Apr. 27 summit between President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, as well as arrange their first phone call through a direct hotline.

Unification Ministry spokesman Baik Tae-hyun said Monday that working-level officials from both sides plan to meet once or twice this week to wrap up details regarding security, protocol and media coverage for the summit, Money Today reported.

This follows discussions on Friday which focused on the schedule of the summit as well as protocol and security.

Another round of talks on Saturday focused on installing a direct communication channel between their leaders.

A high-level meeting is expected to take place next Wednesday, with senior government officials finalizing arrangements for the summit and specifying the agenda. They are also expected to discuss the date of Moon and Kim’s first phone conversation through their hotline.

Also, on Monday, Seoul’s Presidential Office told reporters that arrangements for a subsequent summit between the United States and the North are also going smoothly.

“From what we are aware of, contact between the United States and North Korea is going well,” a senior presidential official said, according to Yonhap.

The remark comes after CNN reported there have been “secret, direct” contact between the two sides, with Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Mike Pompeo leading efforts for summit arrangements.

Regarding former U.N. ambassador John Bolton taking over as President Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor, Seoul’s presidential official said South Korea’s top security advisor Chung Eui-yong is likely to contact him soon.