Relations between North Korea and South Korea continue to improve, as officials just announced the next big summit between the two nations.
North and South Korean officials confirmed that their leaders will be holding a summit this September in Pyongyang, according to a CNN report on Monday.
The summit was confirmed after senior officials from the two nations held several meetings on Monday in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the two countries.
“We agreed to hold an inter-Korean summit within September in Pyongyang,” both countries said in a joint statement reported by Yonhap News.
An exact date in September has not been revealed, but some anticipate it will take place in mid- to late September. The last inter-Korean summit took place in Pyongyang in 2007.
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The summit will be the third face-to-face meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
The two leaders first met in April to improve relations and discuss an official end to the Korean War. They signed the Panmunjom Declaration, expressing an official commitment to formally end the war. In May, the two held an impromptu meeting at the DMZ.
Ri Son Gwon, chief delegate for inter-Korean relations, said: “What’s very important is that both governments do all they ought to do regarding progressing all the issues on the agenda.”
“If the issues that were raised in the inter-Korea talks and individual meetings are not resolved, then unexpected problems could arise and all the items on the agenda could meet obstacles,” he added.
The announcement follows concerns that North Korea’s denuclearization efforts have stalled since the June 12 summit between the United States and North Korea. Officials from both sides are accusing one another of not fulfilling their obligations as agreed upon at the summit.
South Korea is said to be pressured to get involved and help urge North Korea’s denuclearization process.
A U.S. State Department spokesperson told Yonhap News: “We are in close contact with the Republic of Korea about our unified response to North Korea. As President Moon stated, ‘The improvement of relations between North and South Korea cannot advance separately from resolving North Korea’s nuclear program.'”
The talks between North and South Korean officials on Monday were said to include the issue of denuclearization.
“We explained that we need to help North Korea-US talks progress quickly and that there needs to be an establishment of dynamic where the inter-Korean relationship and the North Korea-US relationship improves in cycles,” said Cho Myoung-gyon, South Korea’s reunification minister.
North and South Korea are also anticipated to further discuss the Panmunjom Declaration, which has not yet yielded a formal end to the Korean War, although leaders agreed to reach a conclusion by the end of the year.