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Seoul says N.K. leader's visit this year is still possible

All Headlines 11:16 November 19, 2018

SEOUL, Nov. 19 (Yonhap) -- It is still possible that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un could visit the South this year despite a delay in denuclearization talks between Washington and Pyongyang, the unification ministry said Monday.

"We will make preparations to make the agreements that the South and the North agreed upon, including Kim's trip to the South, take place without a hitch within this year," Baik Tae-hyun, a ministry spokesman, told a regular press briefing.

In a September summit in Pyongyang, Kim promised to visit South Korea "at an early date." South Korean President Moon Jae-in later said that his planned trip could be possible within this year should all things proceed without a problem.

Stalled denuclearization talks between the U.S. and North Korea, however, have prompted speculation that Kim's first-ever visit to the South could be delayed, along with major cooperative projects the two Koreas agreed to launch before the end of this year.

Washington and Pyongyang are currently pushing to rearrange their recently canceled high-level talks to discuss the nuclear issue and preparations for their possible second summit.

The spokesman said that he knows that consultations are underway between the U.S. and North Korea to determine the schedules for their high-level talks but declined to comment further, saying that it is a matter that needs to be worked out by those countries.

He still expressed hope that progress in denuclearization talks could help speed up the peace process on the Korean Peninsula.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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