No response yet from North | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 13, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 13, 2018


No response yet from North

Says South envoy ahead of Trump-Kim meeting on nuclear talks, thanks China for playing major role in diplomatic process

♦ Korean peninsula faces important opportunity for talks: Xi Jinping 

♦ Human rights must be part of any talks with North Korea: UN

North Korea's silence on its upcoming summits with the United States and South Korea is probably due to caution over organising its stance on the meetings, the South said yesterday, as China's leader urged patience.

North Korean media mentioned a visit by a delegation from the South last week, but no coverage has been seen of Kim Jong Un's invitation to meet US President Donald Trump or the South Korean president to discuss the future of Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programme.

"We have not seen nor received an official response from the North Korean regime regarding the North Korea-US summit," Baik Tae-hyun, the spokesman of the South's Ministry of Unification, told a regular news conference.

"I feel they're approaching this matter with caution and they need time to organise their stance."

The South Korean officials who took Kim's invitation to Washington are visiting China and Japan this week to update their neighbours on the talks.

South Korea's National Security Office chief, Chung Eui-yong, who led the delegation, heads to Russia today after meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping, the Blue House said.

In Beijing yesterday, Xi told Chung the Korean peninsula faces an important opportunity for talks to ease the situation.

"At the same time, all sides must exercise patience and be attentive, and show political wisdom, to appropriately face and dispel any problems and interference to resuming the talks process," state media cited Xi as saying.

China looks forward to smooth talks between the two Koreas and between the United States and North Korea and substantive progress in the denuclearisation process and normalisation of ties, Xi added.

Chung expressed thanks for China's role at a meeting earlier with China's top diplomat, State Councillor Yang Jiechi.

Trump agreed to meet Kim Jong Un by the end of May and the two Koreas will hold a summit by the end of April. A location has not been decided for the North Korea-US summit, while Kim and Moon will meet at the truce village of Panmunjom straddling the border of the two Koreas.

UN investigator on the isolated country said yesterday any progress in the nuclear and security dialogue with North Korea at upcoming summits must be accompanied by discussions on human rights violations, including political prison camps.

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