Wednesday, 17 October, 2018

Relations across Korea are improving despite lack of details on denuclearisation

Inter-Korea summit: Two Koreas sign joint agreement after leaders' one-on-one summit 'Kim Jong-un agrees to allow in weapons inspectors' as two Koreas meet in Pyongyang
Faye Gross | 20 September, 2018, 05:46

So far no date has been set for that summit, but it is supposed to take place before the end of 2018.

How you see the third summit this year between Moon and Kim - and there could be another in the works, with Kim promising to come to Seoul soon - may depend on where you're sitting, both geographically and politically. His father, late leader Kim Jong-il, also agreed to visit the South when he held the first-ever inter-Korean summit in 2000 with then-South Korean President Kim Dae-jung. "South Korea should not be played by Kim Jong Un". Few expected the promise would be honored by a leader who was so reclusive that his train trips to neighboring China and Russian Federation made huge headlines in the outside world.

Moon and Kim spoke at a news conference after signing a joint statement following their second day of summit talks in Pyongyang.

Hanham said North Korea made similar offers during previous rounds of negotiations, but the steps it ultimately took - demolishing a cooling tower at Yongbyon in 2008 for example - were easily reversed.

Also at the UN General Assembly, Moon is expected to meet and brief Trump - who, according to Moon's aides, has called the South Korean president a "chief negotiator' between himself and Kim".

North Korea said it would close a key missile test facility in the presence of "international experts" and potentially destroy its primary nuclear complex if the United States agrees to corresponding measures, South Korean President Moon Jae-in announced in a joint press conference with Kim Jong Un Wednesday.

He noted with apparent approval that the latest inter-Korean summit included a proposal for a potential joint North Korean-South Korean bid for the Olympic Games, adding, "We have a lot of very good things going".

Whatever happens down the road between Kim and Trump, or Kim and whoever follows Trump, since North Korean leaders tend to outlast American presidents, this is to be regarded as a moment of triumph. He and Kim had met twice earlier this year.

At their June 12 summit, Trump and Kim signed a declaration that stated, "President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK, and Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula".

It also led to rapid improvement in the North's long-strained ties with China.

The underlying message being delivered by the state propaganda machine is clear - it was the wisdom of Kim that has opened up the way to a brighter future and it is only the stubborn interference of imperialists and reactionaries that can stand in the way.

Moon and Kim begin summit after limo ride through Pyongyang
Kim would push for enhanced North-South cooperation "especially in areas that promise economic benefits for the North", it added. The North has repeatedly used this ideology to back its demand that the South split from its alliance with the United States.


Asked if any deal on denuclearisation had been struck, Moon's spokesman Yoon Young-chan said: "It's hard to say at this moment that the two leaders have reached any agreement".

What also drew media attention this week was the humble and frank way he talks.

"Thanks to that meeting, the situation around the Korean Peninsula has stabilized, and we can now expect more progress", Kim said at the start of a two-hour meeting with Moon at the headquarters of the ruling Workers' Party, according to pool reports from South Korean journalists in Pyongyang.

While the declaration appears to fall short of what Washington wants, President Donald Trump has maintained that he and Kim have a solid relationship and both leaders have expressed interest in meeting again after their June summit in Singapore.

It's not easy for the leader of a country, especially a totalitarian nation like the North, to acknowledge the shortfalls of his nation.

Following the statement, the U.S. will have much to mull as Pompeo prepares to host a UN Security Council meeting on North Korean denuclearization on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in NY on September 27. Moon and Kim planned to visit a volcano sacred to the North on Thursday, the last day of Moon's visit.

Kim also talked about how developed the South was, referring to what he heard from visitors to the Winter Olympics in the South's city of PyeongChang earlier this year.

The United States has also invited North Korean representatives to meet with the US special representative for North Korea, Stephen Biegun, in Vienna at the "earliest opportunity", Pompeo said.

In North Korea, the day-to-day status of negotiations with Washington isn't what people care about.

All these point to an ordinary leader of an ordinary nation.

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