South Korean envoy to travel to North for pre-summit talks

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Friday, August 31, 2018

SEOUL, South Korea -- President Moon Jae-in will send an envoy to North Korea next week for talks on a nuclear standoff and to set up a summit planned for next month, his office said Friday.

The trip on Wednesday comes amid growing worry over the slow pace of getting North Korea to end its nuclear program following President Donald Trump's landmark Singapore summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in June. Trump declared that summit a success and suggested the nuclear issue would be solved, but there has since been widespread doubt over Kim's willingness to relinquish his nukes. Many analysts believe that Kim sees them as crucial for staying in power.

Moon and Kim are set to meet next month in Pyongyang for their third summit.

Details, including when, are still unclear. The South Korean president's office said it also hadn't been determined who the envoy traveling to Pyongyang next week will be.

The announcement comes days after Trump shelved a trip by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Pyongyang, citing lack of progress on denuclearization, but remaining open to future talks.

Trump has been heaping blame on China, North Korea's traditional ally and main trading partner. On Wednesday, Trump accused Beijing of pressuring the North because of current tensions in U.S.-China trade relations, and also of providing North Korea money, fuel, fertilizer and other commodities in violation of international sanctions, which he said was not helpful.