North Korean


SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea’s silence on its upcoming summits with the United States and South Korea is probably due to caution over organizing its stance regarding the meetings, South Korea’s Ministry of Unification said on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meets members of the special delegation of South Korea’s President in this photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on March 6, 2018. KCNA/via Reuters/File Photo

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 U.S. President Donald Trump or the South Korean president to discuss the future of Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program.

“We have not seen nor received an official response from the North Korean regime regarding the North Korea-U.S. summit,” ministry spokesman Baik Tae-hyun told a regular news conference.

“I feel they’re approaching this matter with caution and they need time to organize their stance.”

The South Korean officials who carried Kim’s invitation to Washington are visiting China and Japan this week to update their neighbors on the talks.

South Korea’s National Security Office chief, Chung Eui-yong, who led the delegation, will head to Russia on Tuesday after meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday, the Blue House said.

In Beijing, Chung expressed thanks for China’s role at a meeting with its top diplomat, State Councillor Yang Jiechi.

“Our president, Moon Jae-in, and the government believe that various advances toward achieving the goal of peace and denuclearization of the Korean peninsula were made with active support and contribution from President Xi Jinping and the Chinese government,” he said.

China was willing to promote the healthy and stable development of North Korea-South Korea relations, Yang said.

“Currently, as positive changes in the Korean peninsula situation have emerged, efforts to bring the Korean peninsula denuclearization process back to the track of resolution through dialogue accord with the direction U.N. Security Council resolutions have set regarding North Korea,” Yang added.

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-U.S. summit, while Kim and Moon will meet at the truce village of Panmunjom straddling their common border.

North and South Korea agreed to hold working talks to hammer out the details of the inter-Korean summit, but have not officially spoken since the South’s delegation returned last week, Baik said.

The North’s official news agency has been lauding the two sides’ efforts to thaw relations, but state media have continued to warn the United States and Japan against war-mongering.

Rhetoric in the North’s state media has been tame, however, compared to threats last year that went as far as saying Pyongyang would fire missiles into the vicinity of the U.S. territory of Guam if provoked.

Reporting by Christine Kim; Additional reporting by Michael Martina in BEIJING; Editing by Michael Perry and Clarence Fernandez

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