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NKorea rights record likely off table at Korean summit

NKorea rights record likely off table at Korean summit”

"As the North Korean and U.S. leaders will discuss the core issues of denuclearization and (the North Korean regime's) guarantee of safety, (the matter) is different from the September 19 Declaration", a high-level Cheong Wa Dae official said on the condition of anonymity.

The South Korean foreign minister said the two Koreas plan to discuss issues related to denuclearizing the peninsula and improving DPRK-ROK relations.

Asked about Russian news reports that President Moon chose to visit Russia in July on the occasion of the World Cup soccer finals, the presidential official said there has been no change in Cheong Wa Dae's position that such a visit is under consideration. North and South Korea will hold their first summit in more than a decade on April 27, South Korea has said. Kang continued, "As the president has emphasized, if the two summits achieve the desired results, they will become a milestone toward resolving the North Korean nuclear issue and the establishment of peace on the Korean Peninsula".

North Korea has repeatedly warned against foreign intervention on the peninsula, especially given the presence of around 30,000 American military personnel.

North Korea, meanwhile, is engaging South Korea and the USA in so-called 1.5-track meetings, while reaching out to its traditional allies.

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho met China's chief diplomat Wang Yi in Beijing just a week after Kim made a surprise trip to the Chinese capital to meet President Xi Jinping.

She encouraged North Korea's recent diplomacy with China and Russian Federation, and also pointed to South Korea's upcoming trilateral summit with Japan and China in May as being conducive to sustaining the momentum.

North Korea's official news agency KCNA had said that a delegation headed by Ri left on Tuesday to meet other foreign ministers in Azerbaijan and to visit Russian Federation, but made no mention of China. From there, Ri will head to Moscow.

U.S. President Donald Trump said Thursday that he may "postpone" the signing of a revised free trade agreement with Seoul until after negotiations about the scrapping of North Korea's nuclear weapons program are finalized.

Ri's meeting with Wang came less than three weeks after his meeting with Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom.

According to Chinese media reports, Ri and Wang discussed Beijing-Pyongyang relations and matters concerning denuclearization.

Kim last week met President Xi Jinping on his first trip overseas since inheriting power from his father Kim Jong Il in December 2011. According to North Korea, Xi had invited Kim on an unofficial visit, following a request from Pyongyang.

"Of course, historical experience tells us that when the situation on the (Korean) peninsula eases and peace talks usher in the light of dawn, there are often all types of disturbances", he said, calling on all parties to "eliminate interference" and continue dialogue.

It has also been rumored that Ri is set to visit South Korea soon after his return from Moscow.

Kim, a ranking Workers' Party official in charge of affairs with South Korea, made the remark half-jokingly when he introduced himself during a visit to South Korean reporters at a Pyongyang hotel Monday to apologize for restricting their coverage of a concert by South Korean musicians in Pyongyang on Sunday. Seoul's presidential office declined to comment on the matter.



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