South Korean Presidential chief of staff Im Jong-seok said on Monday that there is no chance of major progress in efforts to rid North Korea of its' nuclear program at inter-Korean summit.

South Korean Presidential chief of staff Im Jong-seok said, it’s “difficult to have any optimistic outlook” for progress on denuclearization during those talks.

South Korean Presidential chief of staff added that progress will depend on how candid the discussions are. 

Im Jong-seok noted that he expects the summit to produce “meaningful” agreements on ways to ease a decades-long military standoff between the rivals. He did not elaborate.

South Korean Presidential chief of staff Im Jong-seok also told reporters the leaders plan to meet twice during Moon’s three-day trip.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in flies to Pyongyang on Tuesday for his third summit of the year with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

South Korean Presidential chief of staff Im Jong-seok speaks to the media.(AP Photo)

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Meanwhile, North and South Korea on Friday opened up their first permanent channel of communication as ties warm further.

Moon’s trip comes as global diplomatic efforts to rid North Korea of its nuclear program have stalled and questions have been raised about how serious Kim is about following through with his vague commitments to denuclearize. Moon has said he hopes he can help restart talks between Washington and Pyongyang, which peaked in June with a historic summit between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump.

North Korea has long maintained that’s its nuclear program is aimed at coping with what it calls U.S. military threats. As such, in exchange for giving up its nuclear program it has been seeking the withdrawal of the 28,500 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea and a peace treaty with the United States to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War. It also wants the lifting of U.S.-led sanctions.

North Korea has taken some steps, like dismantling its nuclear and rocket-engine testing sites, but U.S. officials have said the North must take more serious disarmament steps before receiving outside concessions.

Military officials have in recent months discussed the possibility of disarming a jointly controlled area at their shared border village, removing front-line guard posts and halting hostile acts along their sea boundary.

The Koreas’ 248-kilometer (155-mile) -long border is the world’s most heavily fortified, with hundreds of thousands of troops stationed along a border laced with mines, barbed wire fences and anti-tank traps. The navies of the Koreas also fought several bloody skirmishes off the west coast of the Korean Peninsula.

Moon will also take a group of business tycoons such as Samsung scion Lee Jae-yong to Pyongyang. Some experts say Moon is preparing for the resumption of inter-Korean economic cooperation projects after diplomacy eventually yields results. Currently, all major joint economic projects between the Koreas remain stalled because of U.S.-led sanctions.

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Sep 17, 2018 10:31 Asia/Tehran
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