UPDATE : 2019.7.18 THU 11:08
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Inter-Korean summit expected to be one-day meeting: official

Next month's summit between President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is expected to be a one-day meeting, a key presidential official said Friday.

"Though we have to discuss this in the summit preparation committee and then it should be finalized through working-level contact with the North, wouldn't it be like that?" the official told reporters when asked if the summit will last one day.

The official added, however, that that's what it appears to be "for now," suggesting that the planned meeting could last for multiple days, depending on discussions with the North.

Moon and Kim are scheduled to meet at the South side of the border village of Panmunjeom in late April in what would be the third inter-Korean summit. Both of the previous summits, which took place in 2000 and 2007, were held in Pyongyang for three days.

The venue is expected to be a key factor in deciding the duration of the summit. Unlike previous summits, which included not only talks, but also other side events, the tense border village is considered unfit for such auxiliary events.

The presidential official said he expects working-level talks with the North to take place soon.

"Now that the preparatory committee has been formed, we can make a meeting proposal first or if the North is prepared, it may do so first," the official said. "Nothing has been planned yet, but I expect it will take place soon."

The issue of setting up a hotline between Moon and Kim is something that should be discussed in working-level talks, the official said.

As to foreign media reports that a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and the North's leader, which is expected to take place by May, could be pushed back to June or July, the official said that the U.S. hasn't notified the South of anything yet.

"As U.S. President Donald Trump has said he would do it by May, would (the media reports) be just media speculation?" the official said.

The official also dismissed concern about the exclusion of South Korea's chief nuclear negotiator from the summit preparatory committee, which critics say could mean there won't be any meaningful discussions on denuclearization during the summit.

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha was the only foreign ministry official included in the committee.

The presidential official said that foreign ministry officials are "warming up" for future denuclearization talks, but didn't get into the summit preparatory committee because the upcoming meeting will focus on key fundamental issues.

Hwi Won  edt@koreapost.com

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