Inter-Korean liaison office plan put on hold

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Seoul, Aug 27 (IANS) South Korea on Monday said that it will review its plan to open a joint liaison office with North Korea due to a new strain in ties between Pyongyang and Washington.

The decision came three days after US President Donald Trump cancelled a visit by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to North Korea due to “insufficient progress” in the negotiations, given the differences on both sides regarding how to carry out the process, Yonhap news agency reported.

Seoul and Pyongyang had earlier agreed to set up the office in August through the joint statement signed by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in on April 27, in which they agreed to improve bilateral ties and work towards peace as well as the total denuclearization of the peninsula.

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“The opening of the liaison office had been planned under smooth progress (in denuclearization efforts), (…) but we believe there is a need to once again review the issue since a new development has emerged,” said South Korean Presidential Office spokesperson Kim Eui-Kyeom said.

“This is not an issue that can solely be decided by our government and is one that needs to be discussed with the North side, but we have yet to learn how the North evaluates the change in conditions,” said Kim Eui-Kyeom.

Asked about any possible repercussions on the upcoming inter-Korean summit scheduled for September, the spokesperson said that the meeting was expected to be held on schedule.

The September summit in Pyongyang would be the third between North and South leaders so far this year, following the meetings on April 27 and May 26.

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–IANS

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