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North And South Korea Officials Meet To Discuss Leaders’ Summit

Pyongyang and Seoul officials to have a meeting to discuss leaders' summit

Kim Jong Un

Representatives of North and South Korea on Wednesday held a preparatory meeting on protocols and security at their shared border ahead of the historic summit between its leaders next week.

The meeting took place in the “truce village” of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone where South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will meet for the first time on April 27, reports Efe news.

Wednesday’s meeting focused on matters related to protocol and the security of the leaders, as well as the arrangement of numerous accredited national and international media for coverage of the summit, according to Seoul’s Presidential Office.

Also Read: Kim Jong-un Wants to ‘Write New History’ With S.Korea

There could be another high-level meeting at the end of this week to conclude all preparations for the first meeting between the leaders of both countries in 11 years.

It is expected that denuclearization will be one of the key points of the historic talks between Kim and Moon.

In addition, South Korea media suggested that a possible agreement between the two countries could be negotiated to announce an end to the war that started in 1950 and concluded with the Korean War armistice in 1953, which has never been replaced by a definitive peace treaty.  IANS

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North Korea Fires Two Short-Range Ballistic Missiles, Says S. Korea’s Military

The missiles were launched from North Pyongan province in the country's northwest and flew eastward, the statement added

ballistic missiles
People watch a TV showing a news program reporting North Korea's missile launch, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, May 5, 2019. VOA

North Korea has fired what appears to be two short-range ballistic missiles, South Korea’s military said Thursday. It was the second time Pyongyang fired missiles in less than a week.

One of the projectiles traveled 420 kilometers and the other traveled 270 kilometers, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement. The missiles were launched from North Pyongan province in the country’s northwest and flew eastward, the statement added.

The province is home to a missile base at Sino-ri that houses the Nodong medium-range ballistic missile, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Beyond Parallel program. At the White House Thursday, President Donald Trump said “nobody’s happy” about the development, adding that he doesn’t believe North Korea is ready to negotiate.

ballistic missiles
Sino-ri missile base, North Korea VOA

The province is home to a missile base at Sino-ri that houses the Nodong medium-range ballistic missile, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Beyond Parallel program.

South Korea’s presidential Blue House said it is very worried about the apparent short-range missile launch, adding it does not hlep inter-Korean military tensions. South Korean officials say Seoul has increased security preparations in case of additional launches.

Recent tests

North Korea on Saturday tested what analysts described as a short-range ballistic missile. Before that, Kim had not tested a ballistic missile since November 2017.

ballistic missiles
FILE – U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun arrives at Incheon International Airport in Incheon, South Korea, Feb. 3, 2019. VOA

The latest launch comes as Stephen Biegun, the U.S. special representative for North Korea, meets South Korean officials in Seoul. The tests threaten to further upend nuclear talks between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump.

Last April, Kim announced he would suspend nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests. The self-imposed moratorium was never formalized, but has helped facilitate the two summits between Trump and Kim. North Korean state media on Wednesday characterized the Saturday launch as “self-defensive” and “nothing more than part of the regular military training.”

The missile launched Saturday appeared to be a short-range ballistic missile designed after a Russian weapon. In that test, North Korea also launched several other projectiles from a multiple rocket launcher.

ballistic missiles
North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un supervises a “strike drill” for multiple launchers and tactical guided weapon into the East Sea during a military drill, May 4, 2019. VOA

Testing US limits

After that launch, analysts said they expected North Korea to continue to test weapons as a show of frustration at the stalled nuclear talks.

“The North Koreans are testing the U.S. response. They’re trying to find out where the ceiling is, in terms of U.S. tolerance for provocations,” said Scott Snyder at the Council on Foreign Relations. “It would appear that following these tests that the North Koreans may decide that they haven’t hit the ceiling.”

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For a year, Trump has said talks with Kim are progressing. As evidence, he cited a lack of nuclear and missile tests. Trump responded cautiously to the Saturday launch, saying he still believes Kim is open to a deal.

Kim wants the U.S. to relax sanctions in exchange for steps to dismantle his nuclear program. Trump says he will not ease sanctions until Kim commits to abandoning his whole nuclear arsenal. (VOA)