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Kim Jong Un likely to visit Seoul in late March or early April

Kim Jong Un likely to visit Seoul in late March or early April

Posted February. 07, 2019 07:29,   

Updated February. 07, 2019 07:29

한국어

The South Korean presidential office Cheong Wa Dae is paying a keen attention to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s potential visit to Seoul as a follow-up event for the second summit meeting between Washington and Pyongyang. Many predict that the visit might take place either in late March or early April.

The lunch menu for South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his chief secretaries’ Wednesday meeting wasn’t ddeokguk, the rice-cake soup typically enjoyed during the Lunar New Year holidays, but onban, a traditional cuisine consisting of meat soup and rice originated from the North Korean capital of Pyongyang.

“We’ve prepared Pyongyang-style soup with rice for our guest (North Korean leader Kim Jong Un) from the city,” said Kim Jung-sook, the First Lady of South Korea who prepared the meal, as quoted by presidential spokesman Kim Ui-gyeom. “It is customary to celebrate the New Year with ddeokguk in South Korea, but in the North, they enjoy onban instead.”

“It will take at least a month to make overtures as to what is achievable between the two Koreas based on the results of the Trump-Kim meeting in Vietnam.” said a Cheong Wa Dae official. “When he visits is not so much important as what he will discuss during his visit.” suggested another official. The significance of Kim’s visit goes beyond the fact that this would make him the first North Korean leader to set foot on the South; the visit should eventually translate into a tangible feat of “Seoul Declaration,” which will pave the way for the improvement of inter-Korean relations.

The presidential office is expecting the U.S.-North summit to yield a detailed roadmap for denuclearization and help mediate the two countries, which will add a considerable momentum to the economic cooperation between the two Koreas.

Experts say that Cheong Wa Dae will work towards producing tangible results from Kim Jong Un’s Seoul visit as it can revive the discussion on various projects such as inter-Korean roads and rails project, the resuming of the Kaesong industrial park and the Mount Kumgang tourism program.

It is also suggested that Kim’s visit may fall around April 27, the one-year anniversary of the Panmunjom Summit, in a bid to maximize the effect of his gesture.


Sang-Jun Han alwaysj@donga.com