Finland’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday said that talks between representatives from North Korea, the U.S. and South Korea were “constructive” and were academic in nature.
According to Helsinki, the meetings took place on Monday and Tuesday and were also attended by EU and UN observers.
The statement also seemed to pour cold water on media reports which indicated the talks were intended to pave the way further discussions on a summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea leader Kim Jong Un.
“This meeting was one of a series of academic sessions over many years that have explored approaches to building confidence and reducing tensions on the Korean Peninsula,” the statement from Finland’s Foreign Ministry reads.
“It was planned well in advance of recent promising developments related to the Korean situation. The participants had a constructive exchange of views in a positive atmosphere.”
North Korea’s Choe Kang Il, Vice Minister of North Korea – U.S. relations was present at the talks and former U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Kathleen Stephens was also reportedly in attendance along with 16 other delegates.
Even though Helsinki called the meeting a track 2 dialogue, it may have also represented the first time U.S. and North Korean officials met face to face since Seoul announced the Kim Jong Un’s intention to meet with Trump on March 8.
“This meeting was part of a series. I have no reason to doubt that it was indeed planned in advance of recent developments,” a North Korea expert with diplomatic experience told NK News.
“Perhaps the organizers were trying to temper expectations but in general these meetings, while not ‘secret’, are not publicised.”
Seoul on Wednesday also said it will propose another high-level meeting in preparation for its own summit with North Korea. The Blue House said it hopes the talks will be held on March 29, in the northern part of Panmunjom and will reach out to the DPRK tomorrow.
Earlier in the day, South Korean President Moon-Jae in called on the preparatory committee for the summit to prepare for his talks with the North Korean leader “from a neutral position” in an attempt to improve relations between Washington and Pyongyang.
The ROK President also suggested that the two Koreas and the U.S. could hold a trilateral summit, depending on the progress of upcoming talks.
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Featured Image: Leaving Helsinki on the ferry to Tallinn, Estonia by TeaMeister on 2003-01-04 23:50:50