South Korea Pursues Another Border Summit with North Korea

Mike Chong, May 22, 2019, 9:27 a.m.

Unification Minister Kim Yeon-chul on Tuesday hinted that the government is pushing for another border summit with North Korea, saying Seoul is considering "various measures" to resume stalled dialogue. Speaking to reporters for the first time since he took the post, Kim said South Korea and the U.S. "are exchanging various opinions regarding measures to resume negotiations." "From a broad perspective, it is important to resume talks," he added.

A high-ranking government official told reporters, "It is desirable to hold a summit without getting too tied up in formalities. There is no need to send an envoy [to North Korea] or hold high-level talks beforehand."

But the prospects are dim. When President Moon Jae-in officially proposed another inter-Korean summit, last month, North Korea did not bother to respond.

The new unification minister quoted former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, who said, "A hungry child knows no politics," and stressed the need to offer humanitarian aid to North Korea. But he admitted that the government is still gathering public opinion "while considering things at the working level."

There is growing suspicion that North Korea is exaggerating its food shortage to either force an easing of sanctions or save money from food donations to spend on its weapons programs.

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