Seoul seeks to advance inter-Korean ties on peace mood created by Panmunjom meeting

SEOUL, July 9 (UPI) — Unification Minister Kim Yeon-chul said Tuesday he will work to turn the current peace mood created by the recent surprise meeting among the leaders of the two Koreas and the United States into a chance to further advance inter-Korean relations.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump met briefly at the truce village of Panmunjom on June 30. After the three-way encounter, Kim and Trump held a one-on-one closed-door meeting and agreed to resume working-level nuclear talks within a few weeks.

“[We] will work to make the positive trend newly created on the Korean Peninsula result in advancing inter-Korean relations,” the unification minister said in a speech at a forum in Seoul. “While making continued efforts to implement South-North joint declarations, [we] will explore creative ways to move inter-Korean relations forward.”

Cross-border talks and exchanges have been in limbo in recent months apparently hamstrung by stalled denuclearization talks between North Korea and the United States since the breakdown of their second summit in February. Pyongyang has demanded Seoul determine its own policy on relations with the North independent of U.S. intervention.

The unification minister said through the Panmunjom meeting, the three leaders reaffirmed their trust, which he said will serve as an “important” foundation on which Pyongyang and Washington will be able to induce an agreement.

He added that South Korea will continue to play an “active” role in close cooperation with the United States, North Korea and the international community to realize the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and build lasting peace in the region.

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