South and North Korea will hold a high-level meeting next week to review implementation of their previous summit agreements and discuss preparations for a new meeting between their leaders, the unification ministry said Thursday.
The high-level talks will be held on Monday on the northern side of the truce village of Panmunjom that separates the two Koreas, according to the ministry. Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon will lead South Korea's delegation.
"Through the upcoming high-level talks, the two sides will have in-depth discussion on ways to bolster the implementation of the Panmunjom Declaration and exchange views on things needed to successfully hold an inter-Korean summit," the ministry said in a press release.
The declaration refers to the agreement that South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un adopted when they met in April.
Under the agreement, the two sides promised to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, halt hostile acts against each other and bolster cross-border exchanges. The two also promised to meet in Pyongyang this fall.
The high-level talks will be the fourth of their kind since the start of this year. They last met in June.
The meeting comes amid growing concerns that the denuclearization process has been slower than expected since the June 12 summit between North Korea and the United States.
The two countries appear to be accusing each other of dragging their feet in implementing what their leaders agreed in the historic summit.
The U.S. has claimed that the North should intensify its denuclearization efforts, while the North has argued that the process should be carried out in a simultaneous and phased manner.
Pressure appears to be mounting on South Korea to play a role in reaching a breakthrough in the apparent stalemate in talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons program.
During the upcoming talks, the two Koreas are also likely to discuss what has been implemented since their previous summit, especially on their promised efforts to expand cross-border exchanges and cooperation.
Since the June high-level meeting, they have had talks to discuss details on cooperation in various areas, including railways, roads and sports.
The North has voiced frustration with the slower-than-expected pace in progress on those fronts. The Seoul government appears reluctant to push for a full-blown cooperation with the North, constrained by multi-layered sanctions imposed on Pyongyang.
"(We) will do our best in implementing the Panmunjom Declaration in an expedient manner through continued dialogue and cooperation, while achieving a sustainable advance in inter-Korean relations and building lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula," the ministry said.(Yonhap News)