PN's Voice 135

Peace Network Korea
PN's Voice 135, 19.04.2018
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PN's Voice No. 135,  19. 04. 2018 
Small steps, Road to peace

Talks Underway to Officially End Korean War
South and North Korea as well as the United States will discuss signing peace treaties to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War during next week's inter-Korean summit and the following one between Washington and Pyongyang, a senior Cheong Wa Dae official said Wednesday. 

The official said Seoul is reviewing with the U.S. the possibility of changing the current armistice agreement into a peace treaty as a means to ensure permanent peace here. The two Koreas remain technically at war as the Korean War ended only with the armistice agreement. Although the armistice was signed by North Korea, China and the United Nations Command, without South Korea, the official said it is undeniable South Korea is one of the countries directly involved and will thus be involved in the process this time around. "In the joint declaration to be announced by Moon and Kim after the summit, we want to include an agreement to ban hostilities, although it is not known yet whether we can use the term 'end of the war,'" the official said. "However, we expect to include such an agreement in some form of expression."
Source : The Korea Times

Trump Vows 'Worldwide Success' for Summit with N. Korea
President Donald Trump has vowed to do “everything possible” to make his upcoming summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un a “worldwide success.” "As you know I will be meeting with Kim Jong-un in the coming weeks to discuss the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Hopefully that meeting will be a great success and we're looking forward to it. It would be a tremendous thing for North Korea and a tremendous thing for the world" said Trump, speaking at a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida on Wednesday.

However, Trump stressed he will "respectfully leave" the meeting if he starts to feel it won’t be fruitful and reaffirmed that the U.S. maximum pressure campaign against the North will continue until Pyongyang abandons its nuclear weapons. 
Source : KBS News

S. Korea, US to Decide on Whether to Hold Joint Drills on Day of Inter-Korean Summit
South Korea and the U.S. will decide next week on whether to conduct their joint military drills next Friday when the inter-Korean summit will take place. The press chief of South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff, Roh Jae-cheon, said in a regular briefing Thursday that the decision will be made after considering the objectives and performance set by the two sides for the Key Resolve exercise which is set to run for two weeks starting from next Monday. Some military sources say that during the period of the summit, the joint drills may be halted temporarily and South Korea's loudspeakers blasting propaganda into the North may be readjusted or turned off.
Source : KBS News

Trump hails CIA chief Mike Pompeo's secret trip to N Korea
CIA director Mike Pompeo forged a "good relationship" with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un when they met last week, US President Donald Trump has tweeted. Confirming media reports of the secret meeting in Pyongyang, Mr Trump said it had gone "very smoothly". The surprise visit marks the highest-level contact between the United States and North Korea since 2000. Mr Trump is expected to hold a summit with Mr Kim by June. Details are being worked out, the US president said.

Mr Pompeo's trip took place after he was nominated by Mr Trump to replace Rex Tillerson as secretary of state. Very little is known about the talks other than that they were to prepare for the forthcoming Trump-Kim summit.

The US does not have diplomatic relations with North Korea, although diplomats have visited in the past and so-called "back channels" are used to communicate with Pyongyang. The last senior US official to meet a North Korean leader was Madeleine Albright, who was secretary of state when she travelled to Pyongyang for talks with Kim Jong-il, the father of the current leader. In 2014, the then-head of National Intelligence James Clapper visited North Korea in a secret mission to negotiate the release of two US citizens. Mr Clapper did not meet the North Korean leader.
Source : BBC News, JoongAng Daily

Two Koreas Agree to Broadcast Live Inter-Korean Summit
South and North Korea have agreed to broadcast live the upcoming inter-Korean summit scheduled to take place at the truce village of Panmunjeom next Friday. Kwun Hyuk-ki, the head of Chunchugwan, the presidential press center, said the agreement was made at the second round of working-level talks held at the border village on Wednesday. He said the two sides agreed to allow live coverage of the historic summit from the moment President Moon Jae-in meets North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to major events of the meeting. Kim said the two Koreas will have additional discussions on the protocol, security and media coverage for the summit. 
Source : Reuters

 
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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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