South Korea's President Moon Seeks Summit With North to Save Peace Process

South Korea's President Moon Seeks Summit With North to Save Peace Process

In that position, Choe will be the constitutional head of state, and is likely to be the public face of North Korea at many official functions.

Kim told top officials of the ruling Workers' Party on Wednesday to push ahead with "self-reliance" to undermine the sanctions, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

Moon has been acting as a go-between to resolve the nuclear standoff and has worked aggressively to foster better relations between the North and the South and keep nuclear talks between the USA and North Korea moving.

The 687 lawmakers in the nominal parliament are elected for a period of five years, while turnout at the polls in March was over 90 per cent.

Kim Yong Nam, the now-91-year-old who held the position of the North's head of state - an nearly entirely ceremonial role - for nearly 20 years, was replaced by Choe Ryong Hae, the state-run KCNA said.

The fate of Kim Yong Chol had been the focus of South Korean media speculation since the second Kim-Trump summit in Hanoi in February ended without any agreement because of disputes over US -led sanctions on the North.

-North Korea summit in Hanoi that collapsed in February, and signaled a continued focus on economic development, a strategic direction officially declared a priority last April.

Under his wing come top nuclear negotiator Kim Yong-chol and others involved in February's summit with the USA, who were elected as members of the SAC.




Mr Kim has made economic development the centrepiece of his strategy and told officials this week that building a self-supporting economy would be a blow to the "hostile forces" that have imposed sanctions on the North Korea.

With Kim Jong Un personally taking an unprecedented role in global engagement, Choe's role may evolve. "We want sanctions to remain in place, and frankly I had the option of significantly increasing them".

US President Donald Trump said he and South Korean President Moon Jae-in will discuss North Korea during their White House meeting on Thursday, including potential additional summits with the North's leader, Kim Jong-un. "He's saying North Korea would take an independent course unless the USA offered to lift sanctions".

In a statement regarding Trump's meeting with Moon, the White House said that Trump noted: "that the door remains open to dialogue".

Mr Choe was one of the three officials sanctioned by the U.S. in December over allegations of rights abuses.

Analyst Cheong Seong-Chang at South Korea's Sejong Institute said that because much of the responsibility for the failed nuclear diplomacy with the United States will probably be assigned to Kim Yong Chol, a hardline former military general blamed for two attacks in 2010 that killed 50 South Koreans, his influence will likely be diminished.

Kim, a 76-year-old veteran diplomat involved in negotiations with the USA, was excluded from the list of the parliamentary foreign affairs commission, spawning speculation that he might retire from work due to age and health issues. But the younger Kim has more openly embraced many of those market changes, and North Korea has sought to ease sanctions and attract more private investment.

There is little known about Pak's replacement, Kim Jae Ryong, who has been serving as a party leader in Jagang Province, a mountainous area home to some munitions factories.

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