In this Nov 1, 2018 photo, President Moon Jae-in, center, of the Republic of Korea (ROK) leaves after delivering a speech on the government's 2019 budget proposal at the National Assembly in Seoul. (KIM HONG-JI / POOL / AFP)
SEOUL – President of the Republic of Korea (ROK), Moon Jae-in, said on Monday that Seoul is preparing for a visit by leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Kim Jong-un.
The ROK leader said this during a meeting with the floor leaders of the five key political parties, including the ruling Democratic Party and the main conservative opposition Liberty Korea Party, Hong Young-pyo of the Democratic Party told reporters at the parliament after attending the meeting.
After his meeting with Moon Jae-in in Pyongyang, Kim Jong-un promised to visit Seoul in return for the ROK president's visit to Pyongyang
Moon was quoted as saying that Seoul was taking preparation on the assumption that the DPRK leader will visit the ROK capital within this year.
Following the third summit between Moon and Kim in Pyongyang in September, the DPRK leader promised to visit Seoul in return for the ROK president's visit to the DPRK capital, Pyongyang.
The ROK president expressed his hope that Kim's return visit would be realized as scheduled to make an epoch-making opportunity for inter-Korean relations.
The ROK and the DPRK meanwhile began a joint survey of waterway along the western border to eventually allow civilian ships to navigate freely in the estuaries, local media reported citing Seoul's defense and maritime ministries.
A 20-member joint survey team, comprising 10 military and maritime government officials and waterway experts from each side, planned to measure the depth of water along the 70-km-long waterway in the estuaries of the Han and Imjin rivers.
The survey would last till the end of this year to draw a navigation map in the estuaries and eventually allow civilian ships of the two Koreas to sail freely in the waters, where civilian access had been restricted in the past because of military tensions.
The joint survey was a part of efforts to implement the military agreement signed by defense chiefs of the two Koreas during the Moon-Kim summit in Pyongyang in September.
Under the military agreement, the two Koreas stopped all hostile acts from Nov 1 by setting up buffer zones along the border on land and in waters and the air.
HONG KONG NEWS