PN's Voice 134

Peace Network Korea
PN's Voice 134, 12.04.2018
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PN's Voice No. 134,  12. 04. 2018 
Small steps, Road to peace

Trump should tell Kim U.S. is not abandoning S. Korea: Hill
U.S. President Donald Trump should make it clear to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un that the U.S. is not withdrawing its military presence from South Korea, argues Christopher Hill, the former U.S. ambassador to Seoul. "While President Trump is correct to respond positively to an invitation to meet Kim Jong-un, he should be guided by the need to avoid making any concessions that would suggest a weakening of the U.S. alliance commitment to South Korea," he said in a written statement. Such concessions would include the withdrawal of U.S. troops from South Korea and a reduction of the pace and schedule of annual joint military exercises, he said. North Korea has been building its nuclear weapons program precisely to "cause the U.S. to decouple its security relationship from" South Korea, not to defend itself from what it calls security threats posed by the U.S., according to Hill. 

"President Trump should reaffirm our commitment to our ally and work closely with China and others in the region, especially our other brave ally, Japan, so that North Korea does not miscalculate U.S. resolve, so that other allies in the region and around the world are reaffirmed in their confidence in the U.S., so that we are able to maneuver from a position of strength, and so that any solution is sustainable," he said. Hill served in the 2000s as Washington's chief envoy to the six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program. 
Source : Yonhap News
US-NK summit has Historic Meaning: Moon
The planned Washington-Pyongyang summit will have historic meaning just by taking place and a good outcome for permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula is expected, as the two sides show strong will for it, President Moon Jae-in said on Wednesday."The inter-Korean summit will lead in to the first ever U.S.-North Korea summit," Moon said, adding the two sides are reportedly discussing the time, venue and theme of the bilateral talks…Holding the Washington-Pyongyang summit itself will be significant in world history. As the two nations are preparing for it with strong will, I expect the summit will produce a good outcome in taking a big step toward the goals of denuclearizing the peninsula and achieving permanent peace through it." 

The President said the nation is at the starting line of a long journey toward peace and prosperity. "We are about to embark on a historic transition of complete denuclearization of the peninsula, lasting peace and sustainable development of South-North Korean relations. It is a goal everybody has dreamed of but has never achieved," Moon said.

The President called for firm determination and confidence so the nation can go beyond division and confrontation and write a new history. But he also stressed care and restraint. "Rather than approaching this with too much ambition to resolve all problems at once, I ask you to make efforts with a goal to lay the stepping stone for restoring the long-strained inter-Korean relations and ensuring peace and prosperity on the peninsula," he said.
Source : The Korea Times
S. Korea cautious about return to six-party talks
As North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has reportedly agreed to return to six-party talks, South Korea reaffirmed on Friday that talks on denuclearization should be discussed first among the two Koreas and the US during planned summits, before the other nations are involved. These comments came about after North Korean leader Kim told Chinese President Xi Jinping during talks in Beijing last week that he agreed to return to six-party talks on his nation’s nuclear program and missile tests. “After holding an inter-Korean summit, a North Korea-US summit and a trilateral summit among South Korea, North Korea and the US, we will see (whether six-party talks will be helpful in denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula)” a Cheong Wa Dae official told reporters. “It is not that the government is considering six-party talks.”

The Cheong Wa Dae official, however, said that the six-party talks could still take place if there is a need for more guarantees from related countries, following a potential three-way summit among the Koreas and the US. The remark appears to reflect concerns that multilateral talks, such as six-party talks, could possibly protract negotiations over the North’s nuclear programs without any tangible end to the nuclear standoff. 

The six-party talks involving the two Koreas, the US, China, Russia and Japan began in 2003 to persuade the North to give up its nuclear ambitions. But the talks collapsed in 2008, largely because the North refused to allow inspectors to verify that it had shut down its nuclear programs. 
Source : The Korea Herald
S. Korean, Japanese FMs vow cooperation on N. Korea
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono met South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha on Wednesday to discuss North Korea’s nuclear issue and bilateral relations, as Japan struggles to remain relevant to the upcoming inter-Korean summit. During an hour-long meeting, Kang and Kono reaffirmed their pledge for close coordination and communication to achieve North Korea’s denuclearization in the lead-up to the April 27 inter-Korean summit and the US-North Korea summit expected to happen by early June. 

Kono’s visit comes amid concerns in Japan that the diplomatic drive led by South Korea, North Korea and the US could fail to meet its security concerns and interests as it is sidelined in the denuclearization talks. Kono said that the pressure campaign and sanctions against North Korea should be maintained until the North takes concrete actions for its denuclearization. Kang agreed that the pressure campaign should continue but she also underscored the importance of maintaining the momentum of “dialogue” with North Korea, the official said. 
Source : The Korea Herald
N. Korea Holds Supreme People's Assembly, No Messages on Summits
North Korea held a major parliamentary meeting on Wednesday without sending any messages regarding its upcoming summits with South Korea and the U.S. The North's official Korean Central News Agency(KCNA) reported on Thursday that the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly(SPA) held the sixth session of the country's 13th assembly on Wednesday in Pyongyang. Wednesday’s session was expected to issue messages regarding the North Korean nuclear issue and the upcoming summits with South Korea and the U.S., but no specific messages were reported by state media. The North's parliament is the highest organ of state power under the country's constitution, but it usually rubber-stamps decisions on governing structures and budgets created by the powerful Workers' Party of Korea.
Source : KBS News
Top Security Advisers of S. Korea, US to Meet on Thursday
The top security advisers of South Korea and the U.S. will meet in Washington on Thursday to exchange views and coordinate ahead of their countries' upcoming summits with North Korea. A senior presidential official said Thursday that National Security Adviser Chung Eui-yong visited Washington on Wednesday to meet with his U.S. counterpart John Bolton. The two officials were set to meet on Wednesday, but the meeting was postponed by a day as Bolton needed to handle the U.S. response to Syria, according to an official at the White House National Security Council. Chung and Bolton are expected to establish a hotline between them ahead of the upcoming summits. It will be Chung's first meeting with Bolton since the U.S. national security adviser took office on Monday. 
Source : KBS News
 

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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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