Ahead of the US-North Korean summit scheduled for May, delegations from North Korea, South Korea, and the United States met in Finland's capital, Helsinki, Tuesday to talk but denuclearization remained off the table, Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini told Reuters.
"This is a so-called 1.5 track meeting with academics and officials, with Finland only a facilitator ... but since we talk about 1.5 track, I think there will be no talk about nuclear weapons," Soini said, according to Reuters.
"It is good to have the discussion going on and take the use of this time frame that was opened between the South and North Korea before the (Winter) Olympics (last month)," he added.
Choe Kang Il, a deputy director general for North American affairs at North Korea’s foreign ministry, is also a part of the 18-member delegation.
No information from the closely-guarded talks was divulged, according to Reuters, but the South Korean delegate Kim Joon-Hyung, professor of international politics from Handong Global University, called the talks "productive."
The talks were a part of the series of academic meetings over the years to explore Northeast Asian issues, the foreign ministry said in a statement earlier in the day.
“The meeting has been planned well in advance of recent promising developments related to the Korean situation,” the ministry said in a statement.
South Korea is also sending a 160-member artistic group to North Korea, including about 10 celebrated K-Pop singers, for concerts there. According to a joint statement issued by the two Koreas, the South Korean musical artists will visit Pyongyang, North Korea's capital, from March 31 to April 3 and give two performances.
The delegation will include some of the country's pop legends, including Cho Yong-pil, Lee Sunhee, and Cho Jin Hee, who performed in Pyongyang during a previous era of detente to ease the strained relations, CBC News reported.