North Korea’s advanced missile and nuclear technologies make the issue of denuclearization at Friday’s inter-Korean summit fundamentally different from earlier agreements, a top Cheong Wa Dae official said Thursday.
Speaking at the inter-Korean summit press center in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province, President Moon Jae-in’s chief of staff Im Jong-seok said that while denuclearization is central to Friday’s summit, the level of agreement possible remains unclear.
Im Jong-seok, South Koera`s presidential chief of staff, speaks during a press conference in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province on Thursday. Yonhap
“At this point in time, when North Korea’s nuclear and ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile technologies) are highly advanced, reaching a denuclearization agreement is a matter that is fundamentally different from agreements reached in the early 1990s and 2000s. This is what makes this summit difficult,” Im said. Im also serves as the chief of the preparation committee for Friday’s inter-Korean summit.
Im added that as the issue of denuclearization goes beyond the two Koreas, Moon and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un reaching a clear understanding on denuclearization would constitute a success for the summit.
“If (North Korea’s) will to denuclearize can be stipulated, and (that the agreement on the issue) means complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, I think this summit would be very successful regarding denuclearization,” Im said.
“(Such an agreement) will be an excellent guide to lead into the US-North Korea summit.”
As for National Security Office chief Chung Eui-yong’s recent visit to the US, Im said Chung was tasked with discussing related issues with the US, and the trip is unlikely to be connected to the agenda for Friday’s summit. Moon’s chief of staff also rejected foreign media reports that the inter-Korean summit meeting may be extended by one day.
Regarding the form the announcement of the agreement will take, Im said it would depend on the level of agreement reached.
“If the leaders reach an agreement and stipulated (it in writing), we hope to (name it the) ‘Panmunjeom Declaration,’” Im said.
“Whether the agreement is announced in front of the Peace House, or if it will be a signing or a brief announcement inside will depend on the level of agreement reached.”
By Choi He-suk (email@example.com)