Korean officials talk in North's capital to set up summit

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

Seoul will continue to push for a joint declaration of an end to the 1950-53 Korean War this year with the United States, Chung told reporters.

An authoritarian nation obsessed with big milestones, North Korea will use the celebration for the 70th anniversary of its national founding to glorify Kim Jong Un as a leader who's standing up for a powerful nation surrounded by enemies.

Moon and Kim held their second bilateral summit on May 26, followed by Kim's historic summit with U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore on June 12.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in will send both his national security adviser and top spy as special envoys on a one-day mission to Pyongyang Wednesday ahead of a possible inter-Korean summit this month.

Senior U.S. administration officials are believed to be very reluctant to take such a step unless they see concrete action from Pyongyang in dismantling at least part of its nuclear arsenal.

While an end-of-war declaration wouldn't imply a legally binding peace treaty, experts say it could create political momentum that would make it easier for North Korea to steer the discussions toward a peace regime, diplomatic recognition, economic benefits and security concessions.

If Moon fails at his upcoming meeting with Kim, he may face a serious political dilemma: whether to continue to engage the North or join another USA -led high-pressure campaign against Pyongyang.

Last month Trump ordered Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to abruptly cancel a planned trip to Pyongyang, citing lack of progress on denuclearisation.

A veteran North Korean official who was sanctioned for his suspected role in development of the country's nuclear and missile technology has died, the North announced on Tuesday (Sept 4).

The Pyongyang summit could reveal whether Moon is ready to push ahead with more engagement with the North despite USA frustration over North Korea.

The Korean War ended with an armistice, leaving the peninsula technically still at war.

"President Moon emphasized that now is a critical juncture for the establishment of peace on the Korean Peninsula and that such efforts go in step with complete denuclearization", the Blue House said in a statement after Moon called Trump.

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