North Korean leader’s Seoul trip dependent on US-NK talks: NIS
SEOUL (The Korea Herald/ANN) - South Korea’s National Intelligence Service says North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s visit to Seoul is dependent on US-North Korea talks.
According to the minor conservative opposition Bareunmirae Party’s Rep. Lee Hag-jae, NIS officials also corroborated Cheong Wa Dae’s claims that the dates of Kim’s possible trip to Seoul are undecided, at a parliamentary intelligence committee briefing.
“Nothing is decided. Chairman Kim’s visit is linked to North Korea-US talks, so the decision will be made along with progress (in US-North Korea talks),” Lee quoted NIS officials as saying.
The briefing was attended by NIS chief Suh Hoon.
Earlier in the day, Cheong Wa Dae denied reports that a date between Dec. 18 and Dec. 20 has been suggested for Kim’s visit.
According to Lee, the NIS also confirmed reports that Kim Yong-chol, vice chairman of the Central Committee of the North’s ruling Workers’ Party, was not involved in the US-North Korea meeting held at Panmunjom on Dec. 3.
On Nov. 3, US officials including Andrew Kim, the CIA Korea Mission chief, met with North Korean officials at the truce village on the inter-Korean border.
According to Lee, NIS officials said that Kim Yong-chol and the CIA official did not meet, and that a meeting between the two was not planned. The revelation from the NIS follows a number of local news reports claiming that Kim Yong-chol did not appear for the meeting despite being expected to do so by the US.
The NIS, however, did not elaborate on who represented the North in the meeting, saying only that the NIS and the CIA are in close communication regarding the latter’s dealings with the North.