Korean officials talk in North's capital to set up summit

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One day before President Moon Jae-in's special delegation heads to Pyongyang, North Korea reiterated demands for a formal end to the Korean War.

"The reason the delegation consists of the same officials from the first delegation is because the government considered the importance of continuity in dialogue with North Korea in achieving the objective of the North Korea trip", Kim Eui-kyeom, a spokesman for the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae, told a press briefing.

North Korea wants the United States to formally declare an end to the Korean War before it takes any concrete steps to open up or scale back its nuclear program, arguing that such a step is vital to defusing tension on the Korean Peninsula and building trust.

"They agreed to meet later this month on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in NY", she said.

USA officials have insisted that a peace declaration, which many see as a precursor to the North eventually calling for the removal of all US troops from the Korean Peninsula, can not come before North Korea takes more concrete action toward abandoning its nuclear weapons.

North Korea wrote to Pompeo last month, warning that the peace process was faltering and telling him not to come to Pyongyang unless he was willing to bring further concessions, officials have said.

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Once a peace declaration is made, Washington and Seoul could struggle to find other points of leverage. The North, meanwhile, could easily find excuses to drag out the process or even discard it.

A veteran North Korean official who was sanctioned for his suspected role in development of the country's nuclear and missile technology has died, the North announced on Tuesday (Sept 4).

Moon is also running out of goodwill gestures toward North Korea, which has expressed frustration about the slow pace in cooperative projects with the South that it hopes will bring it economic benefits.

Moon's nightmare may be a return to 2017, when animosity created by the North's barrage of nuclear and missile tests and Trump's responding belligerent tweets raised war fears among South Koreans.

"If inter-Korean relations also stagnate, the diplomatic momentum could be lost", he said in an interview. "When inter-Korean relations were good in the past, North Korea's nuclear threat eased".

After their June summit in Singapore, Trump and Kim issued a vague statement about a nuclear-free peninsula without describing when and how it would occur.

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