South Korea to Have Summit Anniversary Event Without North Korea

South Korea plans to hold an event to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the historic summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, without the North’s participation, Bloomberg informed.

Seoul’s Ministry of Unification in charge of inter-Korean affairs said in a statement Sunday that the event, featuring artists from South Korea, the U.S., China and Japan, will be held on April 27 at the border town of Panmunjom. The ministry said that while it plans to inform Pyongyang of the event, which will be called “The Long Road,” it currently plans to organize the show without its northern counterpart.

The absence of North Korean participation highlights the challenges facing inter-Korean relations. A year ago, Kim and Moon shook hands at their militarized boundary, declared an “era of peace” and agreed to improve ties. Progress has stalled since President Donald Trump’s last summit with Kim broke down without a disarmament deal in February, Bloomberg added.

The South Korean president noted last week it was time for another summit with Kim. While Pyongyang has not publicly responded to Moon’s proposal, it has criticized U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, and last week tested a new tactical guided weapon.

According to Yonhap News Agency, Seoul would also welcome a trip to Russia by Kim Jong-un, as it could help move forward the efforts to denuclearize the North, a senior official from Seoul’s presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said Monday.

“I understand Chairman Kim Jong-un may visit Russia and I believe it would be a good thing to South Korea because it is a part of the process to denuclearize (the Korean Peninsula) and it may lead to good outcomes,” the official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

The official is currently on a visit to the capital of Kazakhstan along with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who arrived here Sunday on a three-day state visit.

The official also partly confirmed earlier reports that the South Korean president may be carrying a personal message for the North Korean leader from President Trump.

“I cannot reveal the contents (of the message), but I believe it will be delivered along with the outcome of the South Korea-U.S. summit when an inter-Korean summit is held,” the official said.

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