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An aide thinks Kim will be at Asean summit

Oct 03,2019
A close associate of President Moon Jae-in said Wednesday that he is preparing for next month’s regional summit in Korea with the presumption North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will be participating.

In an interview with CBS radio, Tak Hyun-min, former presidential aide who oversaw protocols and event planning of the Blue House, discussed his preparations for the upcoming international events scheduled to take place in Busan in November.

The Korea-Asean special summit will take place on Nov. 25 and 26, and the Korea-Mekong summit, involving Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, will immediately follow the next day.

“I am making preparations for the summits,” Tak said. “I am making preparations for more than just the visit by North Korean leader Kim.”

He said he was being briefed about the possibility of Kim’s visit as he prepared the events.

It is the Moon administration’s official position that there are no ongoing discussions between the two Koreas about Kim’s participation in the summits.

After media speculations were made, Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon made public the position during a National Assembly hearing on Sept. 26.

Moon had earlier expressed his hope for Kim’s visit in an interview with the Bangkok Post on Aug. 30.

“It would be a very meaningful occasion for peace on the Korean Peninsula and in East Asia, if Chairman Kim is given the chance to join the gathering,” Moon said at the time, adding that “Of course, the decision on whether to invite Chairman Kim should be made in light of the progress being made in the peace process on the Korean Peninsula, including the dialogue between the United States and North Korea.”

Tak said Wednesday that he is planning several key events. Asked if he is planning for an inter-Korean summit, Tak said, “There will be various formats. He can join a multilateral summit, and of course, there will be a bilateral meeting [between the leaders of the two Koreas].”

“I assume that there will be an inter-Korean summit,” he said. “In addition to the Asean summit, there will also be the Korea-Mekong summit, so we will host many events on the sidelines.

“The scope of Kim’s participation on those events should be decided. And if Kim comes to Busan, a southern part of the Korean Peninsula, we need to make some preparations to address that. So, there is a lot to prepare.”

Tak, who joined the Moon Blue House as a protocol aide, left the job in January this year. He is currently working as an adviser for presidential event planning.

BY SER MYO-JA [ser.myoja@joongang.co.kr]


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