Koreas to hold high-level talks on Wednesday

Seoul, May 15 (IANS) North and South Korea have agreed to hold high-level talks on May 16 to discuss ways to enforce the Panmunjom Declaration, Seoul’s Unification Ministry said on Tuesday. The officials from both sides would meet in the Panmunjom border village in the Peace House inside the demilitarized zone (DMZ) dividing the two Koreas, Xinhua quoted a statement as saying.

The Panmunjom Declaration was announced on April 27, after the third and historical inter-Korean summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and top North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. In the declaration, they agreed to complete denuclearisation and the alteration of the current armistice agreement to a peace treaty by the end of 2018.

The two leaders had agreed to hold senior-level talks to discuss follow-up measures to enforce the declaration. The Korean Peninsula had remained technically at war as the 1950-53 Korean War ended in armistice. Seoul had proposed for the dialogue on Monday, but Pyongyang wanted it on Wednesday, which has now been agreed upon.

The five-member North delegation, led by Ri Son-gwon, chairman of the Peaceful Reunification Committee will include railway, sports and inter-Korean economic cooperation officials. The South Korean delegation will be headed by Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon.

Under the Panmunjom Declaration, the two Koreas agreed to connect and modernise railways and roads in the east transport corridor and between Seoul and Sinuiju in North Korea. They also agreed to encourage exchanges, cooperation, visits and contacts at all levels to raise the sense of national reconciliation and unity.

To resolve humanitarian issues, the two sides would hold a reunion of families separated across the border around the August 15 Liberation Day, when the Korean Peninsula was liberated from Japanese colonial from 1910-45.