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17 September, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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The Korean peninsula crisis

AFP

Pare  peace talks from nuclear issue: US expert

 

Moon seeks to break nuke deadlock at summit

WASHINGTON: One of the top US experts on North Korea says President Donald Trump should agree to separating talks for a formal peace on the Korean peninsula from the issue of Pyongyang’s denuclearization, reports AFP.

In an interview with AFP, Victor Cha, who was Trump’s pick for a new ambassador to Seoul last year before the White House changed its mind, said Trump should get on board with the effort by North and South Korea to craft a declaration to end the 68-year official state of war between the two countries when their leaders meet in Pyongyang next week. “The Chinese will probably support that,” said Cha.

“That puts Trump in a very awkward position, because there are three other parties that want a peace declaration, and he’s the one who wants the credit, for the Nobel prize.”

Doing so would mean Trump backing off his demand that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un first take concrete steps toward giving up his nuclear weapons. But Trump should insist on something concrete in return, Cha said.

“The sequencing issue is not new,” he said. “They want a peace declaration and lifting sanctions first, we want steps towards denuclearization first.” “We have to split up the negotiations.” Since Trump met with Kim in a groundbreaking summit in Singapore in early June, Washington has rolled together the two issues of denuclearization and an official end to the hostilities that began with the 1950-53 Korean War.

Since then there has been no sign of Pyongyang truly moving on denuclearization, says Cha, now head of Korean issues at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

“We want a declaration (of nuclear facilities), we want verification, we want a timeline.... There is nothing that I’ve seen that shows North Korea wants to do any of those things.” If North and South Korea do move toward a peace declaration, Cha said, Trump should get something in return for his endorsement. Cha says that could be a North Korean agreement to pull its artillery back from the heavily militarized border, from where it can easily strike densely populated Seoul.

 

 

SEOUL: South Korean President Moon Jae-in travels to Pyongyang this week for his third summit with Kim Jong Un, looking to break the deadlock in nuclear talks between North Korea and the United States, reports AFP.

Moon—whose own parents fled the North during the 1950-53 Korean War—flies north on Tuesday for a three-day trip, following in the footsteps of his predecessors Kim Dae-jung in 2000 and mentor Roh Moo-hyun in 2007.

No details of the programme have been announced but Pyongyang is likely to pull out all the stops to create a good impression, with tens of thousands of people lining the streets to welcome him.

The visit comes after the North staged its “Mass Games” propaganda display for the first time in five years. The new show featured imagery of Kim and Moon at their first summit in April in the Demilitarized Zone that divides the peninsula—prompting the unusual sight of tens of thousands of North Koreans in the May Day Stadium applauding pictures of Seoul’s leader.

One diplomatic source predicted the visit would see “Kim and Moon together receiving the same sort of applause”.

But while the summit at the Panmunjom border truce village was high on headline-grabbing symbolism, with Moon stepping briefly into the North and the two sharing an extended one-to-one woodland chat, pressure is mounting for substantive progress. Moon, who met Kim again in May, was instrumental in brokering the historic summit the following month between US President Donald Trump and Kim in Singapore, when Kim backed denuclearisation of the “Korean peninsula”. But no details were agreed and Washington and Pyongyang have sparred since over what that means and how it will be achieved. At the same time the US and South have sometimes moved at radically different speeds in their approach to the North.

Moon will try again to “play the role of facilitator or mediator”, said his special adviser on foreign affairs Moon Chung-in.

“He believes that improved inter-Korean relations have some role in facilitating US-DPRK talks as well as solving the North Korean nuclear problem,” he told reporters, using the North’s official acronym.

 

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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