Two Koreas open joint liaison office in North: Pool report

Elias Hubbard
September 14, 2018

The two Koreas have sought to pursue joint projects in multiple fields since the April summit between Moon and the North's leader Kim Jong-un in the Demilitarized Zone that divides the peninsula, even as U.S. efforts to secure concrete progress towards Pyongyang's denuclearization have stalled.

Moon and Kim, who agreed on a series of steps to improve ties at an April summit, will meet in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang next week, when it is hoped they can help end an impasse between the United States and North Korea. But its operation was suspended in 2016 amid an escalating standoff over North Korea's long-range rocket launch.

But the North Korean statement said Park was a "nonentity", and called the charges "vicious slander and another smear campaign".

"Their view is that North Korea is not serious about denuclearizing", one official told Glasser.

However, Kim sent a message to South Korean envoys last week saying he wanted to achieve denuclearisation during Trump's first term.

But Kim has since sent Trump a letter seeking a second summit and held a military parade for his country's 70th birthday without showing off any intercontinental ballistic missiles, prompting warm tweets from the USA president and raising hopes of progress.

But the war of words over the hacking charges shows the huge gulf of distrust that continues to exist between the governments of both nations.

The North Korean statement said those incidents "had nothing to do with us".

The building includes separate Northern and Southern offices and a joint conference room, and is meant to facilitate cross-border exchanges following the Panmunjom Summit between Moon and the North's leader Kim Jong Un, the unification ministry said.

The opening comes ahead of a meeting between North and South leaders.

About 15-20 South Korean officials will work at the office nine-to-five, sleep at a nearby lodging facility in Kaesong during the weekdays and take turns staffing the office on weekends.

The UNC controls the southern part of the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone, a 2.5-mile wide buffer zone that has divided the peninsula since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice instead of a peace treaty.

"The U.S. should seriously ponder over the negative consequences of circulating falsehoods and inciting antagonism against the DPRK that may affect the implementation of the Joint Statement adopted at the DPRK-U.S.", the statement read, referring to an agreement reached between President TrumpDonald John TrumpSouth Carolina detention centers say it will not relocate inmates in mandatory evacuation zones Letitia James routs three Dems to win New York AG primary Trump slams Kerry for "illegal" meetings with Iran MORE and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un earlier this year. It will be open from 9 a.m.to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday but staffed around the clock, according to a joint agreement signed by both sides.

The two sides in the past communicated by fax or special phone lines, which would often be cut when relations soured. It was only in January that they reopened a hotline at their shared border village of Panmunjom that had been dormant for two years.

"This liaison office is another symbol of peace jointly created by the South and the North". "We look forward to a day when such harmonious image of life will spread beyond Kaesong across the entire Korean Peninsula".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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