Report: North, South Korea officials could meet in Moscow

Diplomats of North and South Korea are expected to make contact at the 2017 Moscow Nonproliferation Conference, according to a South Korean press report.

Choi Sun Hee, the North America bureau chief of Pyongyang’s foreign ministry, is expected to meet with former U.S. officials and could meet with a South Korean official in Moscow this week. File Photo by Yonhap
Choi Sun Hee, the North America bureau chief of Pyongyang’s foreign ministry, is expected to meet with former U.S. officials and could meet with a South Korean official in Moscow this week. File Photo by Yonhap

Maeil Business reported Monday that Seoul is considering sending a director-level diplomat to the annual conference to meet with Choi Sun Hee, the North America bureau chief of Pyongyang’s foreign ministry.

Seoul’s foreign ministry made the decision to step up efforts after Choi’s attendance was confirmed, the report states.

But a South Korean official who spoke to Maeil Business anonymously said there are no finalized plans for the meeting.

“Potential North Korea provocations are being taken in to consideration, so there is nothing confirmed yet,” the official said.

If the two sides meet, it would mark the first time a “Track 1” meeting of government officials is held since South Korean President Moon Jae-in assumed office in May 2017.

Seoul and Pyongyang agreed to more informal “Track 1.5” talks in June, in Stockholm, Sweden, when former South Korean ambassador to Jordan Shin Bong-gil met with a North Korean foreign ministry official.

The nonproliferation conference is one of the largest diplomatic security conferences held in Russia.

More than 40 countries are to send envoys, and more than 200 envoys and former diplomats are expected to be in attendance.

Choi is expected to attend the sessions on Northeast Asia security and the Korean peninsula.

The United States is to send former U.S. State Department official Wendy Sherman and Robert Carlin, former chief of the Northeast Asia Division in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research.

Choi is confirmed to meet with Sherman, former State Department special adviser Robert Einhorn, among others, according to Yonhap.

The conference is set to begin on Thursday.

By Elizabeth Shim