PN's Voice 136

Peace Network Korea
PN's Voice 136, 26.04.2018
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PN's Voice No. 136,  26. 04. 2018 
Small steps, Road to peace

SK-US to Wrap Up Joint Military Drills Ahead of Summit
South Korea and the U.S. will reportedly wrap up and halt their annual joint military drills ahead of the inter-Korean summit set for Friday. The two sides will reportedly wrap up the field drills to create a peaceful mood for the historic summit set for Friday. They kicked off the annual drills on April first for a four-week run, but did not specify the exact end date. The allies will also halt on Friday the simulation-based, command-post Key Resolve drills, which began on Monday for a two-week run. 

The annual spring drills were usually held in late February or early March, but this year they were delayed until the end of the PyeongChang Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. Seoul and Washington have taken a low-key stance in carrying out their annual joint military drills ahead of the inter-Korean summit and the U.S.-North Korea summit.
Source : KBS News

Moon: Peace Treaty Not Possible without US
President Moon Jae-in has reaffirmed that signing a treaty to formally end the Korean War will require a tripartite agreement among North and South Korea and the United States, and is not possible just between the two Koreas. He made the remarks during a 40-minute phone conversation with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Tuesday, three days before his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

"Declaring the end of the war cannot be achieved through inter-Korean talks; it can only be done when at least the two Koreas and the U.S. agree on it," Moon was quoted as saying by presidential spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom. "To meet these conditions, I'll closely cooperate with the U.S. and Prime Minister Abe." He said the success of the inter-Korean summit would not only lead to the success of the Washington-Pyongyang meeting but also help normalize relations between Japan and the North.

After Moon asked Abe about the need for Tokyo-Pyongyang talks later, the prime minister said Japan and North Korea have had many problems such as the North's nuclear and missile tests and its kidnapping of Japanese citizens, but the two countries could begin talks smoothly if the inter-Korean and Washington-Pyongyang summits are successful, according to Cheong Wa Dae.
Source : Korea Times

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

Moon-Trump summit likely for mid-May
A South Korea-US summit meeting is being arranged for some time in May, before a planned meeting between the leaders of the US and North Korea, Cheong Wa Dae said Wednesday. Revealing that National Security Office chief Chung Eui-yong met with White House national security adviser John Bolton on Tuesday in the US, Cheong Wa Dae’s chief press secretary Yoon Young-chan said that a Seoul-Washington summit was a key agenda item in Chung’s meeting. 

“The two also discussed plans for arranging a meeting between President Moon Jae-in and President Donald Trump before the US-North Korea summit,” Yoon said, adding that the two sides agreed to continue cooperating closely after the inter-Korean summit for the success of Trump’s planned meeting with Kim. 

Moon is set to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Friday. A US-North Korea summit is being arranged, but the time and location of the meeting have not yet been decided.
Source : Korea Herald

NK Test Site could be Unusable after Collapse
Chinese scientists have concluded that North Korea's nuclear test site has partially collapsed, potentially rendering it unusable. The test site at Punggye-ri has been used for six nuclear tests since 2006. After the last, in September, a series of aftershocks hit the site, which seismologists believe collapsed part of the mountain's interior. On Saturday, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un announced he was suspending his country's nuclear and missile tests. The surprise declaration came ahead of historic talks with South Korea and the US. 
Source : BBC 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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