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Seoul to send special delegation to Pyongyang next week

Posted March. 03, 2018 07:46,   

Updated March. 03, 2018 07:46

한국어

President Moon Jae-in will likely send a high-level special delegation to Pyongyang early next week at the earliest. Promising candidates for the special envoy include presidential chief of staff Lim Jong-seok, presidential National Security Office chief Chung Ui-yong and National Intelligence Service chief Seo Hoon.

A source at the presidential office said Friday, “Considering follow-up measures, there is little chance that (the dispatch of) a special delegation will come after mid-March.” The presidential office plans to conclude the delegation’s activities before March 18 when the PyeongChang Paralympics will end, before starting follow-up measures. The dispatch of the special delegation is effectively response to last month’s visit to South Korea by North Korea’s Kim Yo Jong, the younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. It is said that the presidential office is already discussing with the North a schedule for the special delegation’s visit to Pyongyang.

Earlier in his call with U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday, President Moon Jae-in said, “We plan to send a special envoy sooner or later.” President Trump reportedly replied that he hoped that South Korea share (with Washington) information on North Korea’s reaction and events in the North after the visit.

President Moon Jae-in will reportedly focus on opening dialogue between Pyongyang and Washington rather than inter-Korean summit through the special delegation. Watchers say that the South’s special envoy will most likely be presidential chief of staff Im Jong-seok, No. 2 man in the presidential office, or Chung Ui-yong, its point man for foreign affairs and national security. “A high-level special delegation could visit Pyongyang,” the presidential office said. It means that National Intelligence Service chief Seo Hoon and Unification Minister Cho Myung-gyun could also visit Pyongyang as special envoy or a member of the delegation.


Sang-Jun Han alwaysj@donga.com