S. Korea hopes for concrete progress in nuclear talks at 2nd Trump-Kim summit

The Unification Ministry of the Republic of Korea (ROK) said Friday that it hopes the upcoming summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) will produce concrete progress to pave the way for greater inter-Korean exchanges, the ROK's Yonhap news agency reported.

Baik Tae-hyun, the ministry's spokesperson, made the remark during a regular briefing, saying the ROK is mulling various options, including proposing high-level talks, to move the now-stalled inter-Korean exchanges forward.

"We hope that more specific and substantial progress will be made at the planned second summit between the U.S. and the North (DPRK)," Baik was quoted by Yonhap as saying.

Trump announced on Tuesday in his second State of the Union address that a second meeting between him and Kim will be held in Vietnam from February 27-28.

"In terms of inter-Korean relations, we are considering high-level talks while taking various situations into account, but nothing has been decided," Baik said. "As you know, inter-Korean relations, U.S.-North Korea (the DPRK) relations and denuclearization are in a virtuous cycle."

According to Yonhap, the spokesperson also introduced the situation concerning the Kaesong Industrial Complex.

A view of the Kaesong joint industrial park from the ROK observation post along the border in Paju on September 25, 2013. /VCG Photo

A view of the Kaesong joint industrial park from the ROK observation post along the border in Paju on September 25, 2013. /VCG Photo

Situated in the DPRK, the industrial park used to be jointly run by the ROK and the DPRK. The ROK stopped its operations in 2016 after the DPRK's rocket launch and nuclear test. 

Baik said the industrial park will be suspended for three years on February 10. He stressed that the ROK side is working hard to reopen the complex in the spirit of the Pyongyang Declaration signed in September last year. 

He also said the ROK government is working toward facilitating ROK businessmen's visits to the industrial park to check their factory facilities. 

Yonhap also reported on Friday that the ROK and the U.S. will postpone the announcement of the schedule for the joint springtime military drill until after the second Trump-Kim summit.

The information allegedly came from an unidentified ROK government source.

However, the source also noted that there was no change yet in plans to conduct a theater-level command post exercise, previously called Key Resolve, from March 4.

(With input from Xinhua)