South Korea's Moon to meet Kim in Pyongyang amid US tensions

By On August 13, 2018

South Korea's Moon to meet Kim in Pyongyang amid US tensions

  • South Korean President Moon Jae-in at a news conference at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, on May 27, 2018. Photo: Bloomberg Photo By SeongJoon Cho. / © 2018 Bloomberg Finance LP

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South Korean President Moon Jae-in at a news conference at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, on May 27, 2018. South Korean President Moon Jae-in at a news conference at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, on May 27, 2018. South Korea's Moon to meet Kim in Pyongyang amid US tensions Back to Gallery

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korea's Moon Jae-in agreed to hold their third meeting this year, as they seek to preserve a detente tested by disputes between Pyongyang and Washington.

The two Koreas announced plans Monday for Moon to visit the North Korean capital next month, the first such tri p since 2007. A joint statement issued after more than three hours of talks included neither a date nor a detailed agenda, other than to advance the agreement the two leaders reached in April during their historic first meeting at the border village of Panmunjom.

"The South, together with the North, reviewed the progress of implementing the Panmunjom declaration, and discussed further methods to fulfill the declaration in a sincere manner," the statement said. The document called for "establishing a permanent and peaceful Korean Peninsula peace regime" and "complete denuclearization."

Moon will have a tricky balancing act at the summit: Maintaining momentum for inter-Korean dialogue while also nudging Kim to make progress on denuc learization with the U.S., an ally of South Korea. Since Kim met President Donald Trump in June, the two sides have failed to make much headway on eliminating North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

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North Korea will suspend nuclear and missile tests immediately and abolish a nuclear test site in the northern part of the country in a bid to pursue economic growth and peace on the Korean peninsula. The decision comes amid decreasing tensions on the Korean Peninsula ahead of a summit between the North and the South next week. North Korea leader Kim Jong Un said in a statement his country no longer needs to conduct nuclear tests or intercontinental ballistic missile tests because it has completed weaponizing nuclear arms, said the Korean Central News Agency. Kim said that to create an "international environment favorable" for its economy, it would facilitate close contact and active dialogue" with neighboring countries and the international community. It marked the first time North Korea directly addressed its nuclear weapons programmes, ahead the planned summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in next week and a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in late May or early June. Mr Trump has welcomed the news and said he looked forward to a summit with Kim: The northern nuclear test ground of the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) will be dismantled to transparently guarantee the discontinuance of the nuclear test," Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said after Kim convened this year's first plenary session of the Central Committee of the ruling Worker's Party on Friday. Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera said it was not the time to ease pressure on North Korea. Japan has advocated a policy of maximum pressure to get the reclusive state to abandon its weapons programme. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who came back from his visit to Washington for talks with U.S. President Donald Trump also cautiously welcomed the move as a "forward motion" but said it must lead to verifiable denuclearisation. South Korea's presidential office said the decision is a "meaningful progress" for denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. "It will also contribute to creating a very positive environment for the success of the upcoming South-North summit and North-United States summit," a spokesman for the president's office, Yoon Young-chan, said in a statement. North Korea has defended its nuclear and missile programmes as necessary deterrents against perceived U.S. hostility. It has conducted numerous missile tests, and last year it detonated its most powerful nuclear bomb. The tests and escalating rhetoric between Trump and Kim raised fears of war until, in a New Year's speech, the North Korean leader called for reduced military tensions and improved ties with South Korea and sent a delegation to the Winter Olympics in the South in February.

Lee Jong-seok, who served as Unification Minister under former South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun, said Kim needed a peace agreement with the U.S. to justify further disarmament gestures back home. The U.S., meanwhile, has sought more concrete steps toward dismantling the country's arsenal before granting that key concession.

"It's not a state of crisis with North Korea and the U.S., but it's more of a deadlock in progress," Lee said. "North Korea was going to use progress toward denuclearization as a strategy to demand a quicker declaration for the end of the war. Kim Jong Un didn't know that it would be used against him."

U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo has pressed other countries to continue enforcing sanctions against Kim's regime while seeking a concrete time frame for Kim to abandon his nuclear weapons. North Korea has rejected his approach, with state-run media lambasting the U.S.'s "pressure diplomacy" and saying it's relying on "outdated gangster-like logic."

The summit between Kim and Moon could set the stage for a second meeting between the North Korean leader and Trump -- the U.S. news site Axios has reported it may come during United Nations meetings in September. While th e White House hasn't confirmed plans for a second meeting, Trump tweeted on Aug. 2 that he looked forward to seeing Kim "soon."

The challenge of scheduling such a meeting between Kim and Moon in September underscored the fraught history between the sides. North Korea proclaimed the Democratic People's Republic of Korea on Sept. 9, 1948, and has previously marked the occasion with displays of military might, including nuclear detonations.

Moon's spokesman, Kim Eui-keum, said Monday that holding a meeting in early September would be "practically difficult." At the talks, North Korean unification chief Ri Son Gwon demurred, saying only that it would be in September.

"We didn't tell you the date, so we can make the repor ters curious," he said, according to the Yonhap News Agency. "It's all decided."

Source: Google News South Korea | Netizen 24 South Korea

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