SEOUL, March 12 (Reuters) - North Korea’s silence on its upcoming summits with the United States and South Korea is likely due to caution over organising its stance regarding the meetings, South Korea’s Ministry of Unification said on Monday.
“We have not seen nor received an official response from the North Korean regime regarding the North Korea-U.S. summit,” said Baik Tae-hyun, spokesman for the ministry, in a regular press conference.
“I feel they’re approaching this matter with caution and they need time to organise their stance.”
North Korean media noted a visit by a senior delegation from South Korea last week but no coverage has been seen of Kim Jong Un’s invitation to meet U.S. President Donald Trump or South Korean President Moon Jae-in to discuss the future of Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme.
Trump agreed to meet with Kim Jong Un by the end of May and the two Koreas will hold a summit by end-April. A location has not been decided for the North Korea-U.S. summit while Kim Jong Un and Moon will meet at the truce village of Panmunjom straddling the border between the two Koreas.
North and South Korea agreed to hold working talks to hammer out the details of the inter-Korean summit, but the two Koreas have not officially spoken since the South Korean delegation returned from the North last week, Baik said.
The North’s official news agency has been lauding efforts between the North and South to thaw relations, but state media has continued to warn the United States and Japan against war-mongering.
Rhetoric in the North’s state media has been tame, however, compared to previous threats last year that went as far as saying Pyongyang would fire missiles to the vicinity of the U.S. territory of Guam if provoked.
The South Korean officials who carried Kim’s invitation to Washington will visit the leaders of China and Japan this week to update them on the talks. (Reporting by Christine Kim; Editing by Michael Perry)