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Samsung heir part of Moon team for DPRK

THE heir to the Samsung empire and the leaders of several other South Korean conglomerates will go to Pyongyang this week for an inter-Korean summit, Seoul announced yesterday.

Samsung’s Lee Jae-yong and the heads of the SK and LG groups will be part of President Moon Jae-in’s delegation as he heads for a meeting with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea leader Kim Jong Un, Moon’s office said.

Kim Yong-hwan, vice chairman of Hyundai Motor Group — whose founder was from the DPRK — will be among the entourage. Hyun Jeong-eun, chairwoman of the separate Hyundai Group which pioneered many cross-border economic projects, will also accompany Moon.

Hyun met Kim’s father Kim Jong Il several times. She was among the first South Koreans to meet the young leader when he assumed power after his father’s death in 2011.

Moon has advocated closer economic ties across the border, despite multiple sanctions on the DPRK over its atomic weapons and ballistic missile programs.

He is set to fly to the DPRK capital tomorrow for a three-day summit with Kim — his third meeting this year with the young leader.

The delegation of about 200 includes top South Korea officials such as its spy chief, foreign minister and defense chief as well as prominent figures in the economy, religion, culture and sports, Moon’s office said.

Lee is the de facto leader of the Samsung group, by far South Korea’s biggest conglomerate, which includes Samsung Electronics — the world’s largest maker of smartphones as well as memory chips.

Other delegates include Archbishop Hyginus Kim Hee-jung of the Catholic church, a female ice hockey player who led the joint inter-Korean team which competed in South Korea’s 2018 Winter Olympics, and K-pop star Ailee.

“The upcoming summit will help pave the way for more vibrant cross-border exchanges,” Moon’s office said in a statement.

United States efforts to persuade the nuclear-armed DPRK to disarm have been stalled for months after Kim and US President Donald Trump vowed to denuclearize the peninsula at a landmark summit in June.

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