PN's Voice 131

Peace Network Korea
PN's Voice 131, 22.03.2018
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PN's Voice No. 131,  22. 03. 2018 
Small steps, Road to peace

Seoul Proposes a Three-Way Summit

South Korean President Moon Jae-in mentioned the possibility of a three-way summit for the leaders of the two Koreas and the United States Wednesday during a meeting with his aides at the Blue House, Moon stressed that the summit will have to “completely end” the nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula. Moon is expected to meet with Kim Jong-un in late April for his first summit with the North Korean leader, the third of its kind between the two Koreas since 2000 and 2007. Kim is then supposed to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump for what would be a historic summit between the two countries. The timing hasn’t been decided. 

While presiding over a meeting of a committee preparing for the inter-Korean summit, Moon said that a trilateral summit could be held after the two planned summits, “depending on their progress.” Moon has not gotten consent from Trump or Kim for that idea, a senior Blue House official told reporters later. He will raise the idea with them from here on, he added. Blue House spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom quoted Moon as saying that the mission to establish peace on the Korean Peninsula can’t be fulfilled “just by an agreement between South and North Korea,” and that the United States would have to “guarantee” that. The Blue House spokesman said Seoul has decided to suggest to Pyongyang that they meet for a high-level meeting next Thursday to hammer out the agenda for the Moon-Kim summit. 
Source : JoongAng Daily

N.K. to Hold Key Parliamentary Meeting April 11

North Korea plans to convene a major parliamentary meeting on April 11, Pyongyang's state media said Thursday, without disclosing agenda details. The Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly (SPA) is the country's legislative body; the highest organ of state power under the North's constitution.

Every April, the SPA holds a plenary session, attended by hundreds of deputies, to finalize the country's budget spending and overhaul Cabinet organs. However, this assembly meeting comes ahead of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's planned summit with President Moon Jae-in in late April and his meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump that is expected to take place by May.
Source : Yonhap News

Joint South Korea-US military exercises to begin on April 1

On March 20th, South Korean and American military authorities officially announced that the joint military exercises, that had been delayed because of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, will begin on April 1st. In an apparent attempt to maintain stability on the Korean Peninsula following the recent decision to hold inter-Korean and North Korea-US summits the drills will last for just over one month on a reduced timeline; the original duration was pencilled in for 2 months. The scale of troops will however be similar to previous years; an official said: “From the US, there will be 11,500 troops participating in Foal Eagle and 12,200 troops participating in Key Resolve. That’s a similar scale to previous years.”

Officials also explained that the South Korean military was taking the lead in planning the exercises, running the opposition force and debriefing this year, just as it did last year, in order to improve its joint operational capabilities.
Source : The Hankyoreh

North Korea: “Sanctions Didn’t Push Us into U.S. Talks”

North Korean state media has said it was "self-confidence" and not sanctions that drove it to seek talks with South Korea and the US. The report went on to criticise "small-minded" critics who questioned North Korea's motives. The US had in February imposed a fresh set of sanctions on North Korea, its largest ever, in what Mr Trump called a "maximum pressure campaign. This had led many, including Trump himself, to declare North Korea’s invitation to meet with the US as a sign sanction were working. 

The KCNA editorial did not make any direct reference to a possible summit, but said its "peace-loving proposal" had caused a "sign of change" in Pyongyang's relationship with the US. It appears to be the first time it has mentioned a shift in North Korean policy towards the US since reports of a possible summit emerged. "The dialogue peace offensive of the DPRK is an expression of self-confidence as it has acquired everything it desires," said the commentary, released on Tuesday. It said it was "rubbish" to say it came to talks as a "result of sanctions and pressure", saying that was an "expression of small-mindedness... for riff-raffs to spoil the atmosphere".
Source : BBC News

South Koreans Express Optimism for the Inter-Korean Summit Next Month

Seven out of ten South Koreans believe an inter-Korean summit scheduled for late April will contribute to advancing inter-Korean relations and establishing peace on the Korean Peninsula. The National Unification Advisory Council (NUAC), an organization advising the South Korean President, commissioned a survey by the polling organization Research and Research between Mar. 15 and 18 investigating opinions on unification among 1,000 adult male and female South Koreans for the first quarter of 2018. 

The results showed 70.1% of respondents agreeing that the inter-Korean summit would “contribute to the advancement of inter-Korean relations and establishment of peace on the peninsula.” Only 25.2% said they did not expect it to make such a contribution. When asked what [should be] the agenda for the summit, 50.3% of respondents named “denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” while 36.8% said “easing of military tensions,” 33.4% said “establishing a peace regime on the peninsula,” and 32.2% said “resolving humanitarian issues such as reunions among divided family members.” 62.2% of respondents were optimistic about the prospects for inter-Korean relations, predicting they would “improve.” Relatively few predicted relations would remain “unchanged” (27.2%) or “worsen” (6.4%). Just over half of respondents – 50.1% – said they viewed North Korea as a “partner to cooperate with and support,” while nearly eight in ten – 79% – said that reunification was “necessary.”
Source : The Hankyoreh


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PN's Voice

Small steps, Road to peace


Two Koreas to March under United Korea Flag at Olympics

North and South Korea have agreed to march together under a single "unified Korea" flag at next month's Winter Olympics in PyeongChang next month. They also agreed to field a joint women's ice hockey team in rare talks at the truce village of Panmunjom. These announcements are the result of the first high-level talks between the countries in more than two years. It marks a thaw in relations that began in the new year when North Korea offered to send a team to the games.

If the plans are realized, a hundreds-strong North Korean delegation - including 230 cheerleaders, 140 orchestral musicians and 30 taekwondo athletes - could cross into the South via the land border to attend the Winter Olympics; this will be the first opening of the cross border road in almost two years. The proposed joint womens ice hockey team would represent the first time athletes from both Koreas have competed together in the same team at an Olympic Games.

The agreement will have to be approved by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Saturday, because North Korea has missed registration deadlines or failed to qualify. South Korea will also need to find ways to host the North Korean delegation without violating any existing UN Security Council sanctions which ban cash transfers to Pyongyang and blacklisting certain senior North officials.

Source: BBC

US S. Korea Confirm Theyre Still on the Same Page

South Korea and the United States confirmed on Thursday that there will be no break in the rotational deployment of high-profile U.S. defence assets to and around the Korean Peninsula. The announcement came after the surprise olive branch offered by North Korea that led to the first inter-Korean talks for 2 years. Resultingly, the North now plans to participate in the PyeongChang Olympics next month.

Concerns had grown that the North's sudden peace offensive could lead to Seoul and Washington butting heads over selecting the correct course of action for dealing with Pyongyang. However, the South Korean Ministry of National Defense confirmed that "In today's meeting, the U.S. side reaffirmed its firm security commitment to the defense of South Korea using all categories of its military capabilities." The two countries have "agreed to continue the rotational deployment of U.S. strategic assets to South Korea and nearby areas as long as North Korea's nuclear and missile threats persist," it added. For South Korean officials and media, U.S. strategic assets usually mean aircraft carriers, nuclear-powered submarines, strategic bombers and stealth fighter jets.

This announcement has been seen by some observers as an attempt to quell fears that Pyongyang is attempting to utilize peace talks as a strategy to drive a wedge between Seoul and Washington.

Source: Yonhap News

South Korea Vows to Continue NK Talks with Clear Eyes

South Korea has said it plans to continue high-level talks with North Korea with "clear eyes" amid global warnings that Pyongyang might be playing for time to continue its nuclear-arms programme. "We have to make the most" of the opportunity said South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha during an interview with the BBC.

The recent talks and announcements about a joint Korean team at the upcoming Olympics come as the US and its allies vowed to keep pressure on the North. On Wednesday US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the recent North Korean suggestion for talks showed that sanctions were "really starting to hurt", expressing confidence that the pressure would eventually force the North to the negotiating table over its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes. Tillersons thoughts were mirrored by his Japanese counterpart, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, who said the world should not be blinded by Pyongyang's recent "charm offensive". "It is not the time to ease pressure or to reward North Korea," Mr Kono said. "The fact that North Korea is engaging in dialogue could be interpreted as proof that the sanctions are working."

However, Ms. Kang affirmed that South Korea knew what it was doing in relation to its neighbour; "I think we understand North Korea better than anybody, having dealt with North Korea for decades, having had series of discussions off and on. We haven't had any significant engagement in the recent past - but this is an opportunityYou can have all kinds of theories of why there are here (at the talks). There are, obviously, calculations going on the part of the North Korea decision-makers as to their actions. But in the end we have to make the most of it.


Source: BBC News


Essay Moons Chance to Shine

Please click the link below to access the recent essay by Peace Network researcher Olly Terry on the prospects of President Moon Jae-in taking the opportunity given to him by Pyongyangs rapprochement into significant long-term progress on inter-Korean relations:

Link: Moon's Chance to Shine





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