Hope on the Horizon? Unofficial Talks With North Korea Slated for July



Unofficial negotiations between an increasingly militarized Pyongyang and nations concerned with the denuclearization of the isolated country are expected to be held in Singapore next month.

Representatives of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), alongside the diplomatic corps of several concerned nations and geopolitical experts from around the world will convene in Singapore next month in an unofficial attempt to restart negotiations to convince Pyongyang to end its continued nuclear and other weapons testing.

Representatives from all sides of the contentious debate will discuss regional stability and Pyongyang's denuclearization at the meeting, the Korea Times reported, citing an unnamed diplomatic source.

Suspended in 2008 after Pyongyang walked away from negotiations, the six members of the Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue (NEACD), including the DPRK, Russia, the US, China, South Korea and Japan, are said to be planning to meet in an unofficial capacity to seek common ground to begin a conversation about weapons deescalation.

Senior nuclear envoys and other global military experts are reported to be planning to attend, according to the University of California's Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC), the gathering's organizer, cited by Korea Times.

While a specific timetable has not been set, the gathering of the NEACD group will mark the first time that member nations will meet in a third-party country.

The announcement of the unofficial gathering follows the May election of liberal South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who campaigned on a promise to restart talks with Pyongyang as a means to end ongoing military escalation in the region.

Bilateral talks between the six players party to NEACD, including Pyongyang, are said to be on the meeting's agenda, according to Yonhap.

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