This combination of file photos shows US President Donald Trump, left, and DPRK leader Kim Jong-un. (EVAN VUCCI, KOREA SUMMIT PRESS POOL VIA AP)
SEOUL – The Republic of Korea (ROK)’s Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon said Friday that the planned second summit between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the United States was anticipated to make a concrete, substantial progress for denuclearization and peace on the Korean Peninsula.
Cho made the remark at a function in Seoul, saying a concrete, substantial progress was anticipated to be made in the second summit between top DPRK leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump as the leaders reached a comprehensive, principled agreement on the peninsula's denuclearization and peace during their first meeting.
Kim and Trump were scheduled to meet in Vietnam on Feb 27-28. The leaders held their first summit in Singapore in June last year.
The unification minister said the ROK will make utmost efforts for the success of the DPRK-US summit and the establishment of permanent peace on the peninsula by closely communicating and cooperating with the DPRK and the United States.
Meanwhile, Baik Tae-hyun, spokesman of the unification ministry, told a press briefing that the ROK anticipated a more concrete, substantial progress to be made in the second Kim-Trump summit.
The spokesman noted that relations between the two Koreas and between the DPRK and the United States formed a virtuous cycle along with denuclearization negotiations.
Drill announcement delayed
Meanwhile, the announcement of the schedule for the joint springtime military drill between the ROK and the United States would be delayed until after the upcoming second DPRK-US summit, the ROK’s Yonhap news agency reported.
Depending on the outcome of the second Kim-Trump summit, the (US-ROK) springtime war games could be delayed, Yonhap reported
An unidentified ROK government source was quoted by Yonhap as saying, however, there was no change yet in plans to conduct a theater-level command post exercise, previously called Key Resolve, from March 4.
The delayed announcement may have taken into account a possible negative effect on the ongoing working-level talks between Pyongyang and Washington ahead of the planned second summit, Yonhap reported.
Kim and Trump agreed to have their second meeting in Vietnam on Feb. 27-28. The first Kim-Trump summit was held in Singapore in June last year.
The combined forces of the ROK and the United States have annually staged springtime war games from March to April, including the Key Resolve command post exercise and the Foal Eagle field training drill.
The DPRK has denounced the war games as a dress rehearsal for northward invasion.
Seoul and Washington reportedly agreed to rename and downsize the war games given the DPRK's aversion to it.
The Key Resolve was reported to be renamed "19-1 Exercise," while the summertime Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) command post exercise was given a new name of "19-2 Exercise."
The ROK’s unification ministry approved the visit by civic activists to the DPRK to hold a joint new year's event with their DPRK counterparts next week
Depending on the outcome of the second Kim-Trump summit, the springtime war games could be delayed, Yonhap reported.
Civic activists' visit
Also on Friday, the ROK’s unification ministry approved the visit by civic activists to the DPRK to hold a joint new year's event with their DPRK counterparts next week.
Baik said the inter-Korean new year's event, pushed for by civic groups, was scheduled to be held in the DPRK's scenic resort of Mount Kumgang from Feb 12-13, saying the travel by about 230 civic activists to the DPRK was approved.
The ROK participants were composed of activists from various civic groups, including labor, woman, farmer, culture and youth organizations.
It would be the first civilian exchange between the two Koreas this year.
HONG KONG NEWS