PN's Voice 140

Peace Network Korea
PN's Voice 140, 23.08.2018
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PN's Voice No. 140  23 08. 2018 
Small steps, Road to peace

Trump Willing to Lift N.K. Sanctions, but Only after Denuclearization

U.S. President Donald Trump has said that he wants to lift sanctions on North Korea, but only after the regime gets rid of its nuclear weapons. Trump mad the comment just hours after the Treasury announced new sanctions targeting North Korea's illicit trade. It is the third time this month that Washington has slapped sanctions against Pyongyang, demonstrating the U.S. commitment to increase pressure on the regime until it fully denuclearizes. Last week North Korean leader Kim Jong-un issued a personal rebuke against the international sanctions campaign, saying that "hostile forces" were trying to "stifle the Korean people through sanctions and blockade."

Trump recalled his landmark June meeting with Kim in Singapore, where the two agreed to establish "new relations" and work toward the "complete denuclearization" of the Korean Peninsula in exchange for U.S. security guarantees. "I can tell you, and I got along very well with Kim Jong-un, really well. Good chemistry," Trump said. "We'll see what happens, who knows? Can I be honest, who knows? But I haven't taken off the sanctions. We have massive sanctions. I want to take them off quickly but they've got to get rid of the nukes. We've got to get rid of the nukes. Got to get rid of them."

North Korea has taken some steps to dismantle a missile engine testing site and its only known nuclear test site. But experts say those steps are hard to verify without outside inspection. Still, Trump has held out hope that Kim will "honor" their agreement and floated the possibility of holding a second summit. 

Source: Yonhap News 

Trump says 'Most Likely' to Meet Kim Jong-un Again

US President Donald Trump said Monday that it's "most likely" he will meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un again following their historic summit in June, according to a news report. Trump was responding to a question during an interview with Reuters about whether the two are planning another meeting. "It's most likely we will, but I just don't want to comment," he was quoted as saying, offering no details on the timing or venue.

In the interview, Trump pointed to North Korea's suspension of nuclear and ballistic missile testing and took credit for making it happen. "I stopped (North Korea's) nuclear testing. I stopped (North Korea's) missile testing. Japan is thrilled. What's going to happen? Who knows? We're going to see," he said. North Korea last tested a nuclear weapon in September and an intercontinental ballistic missile in November, claiming the US was within reach of its weapons. 

Trump told Reuters "a lot of good things are happening" with North Korea but did not elaborate on whether the regime has taken specific steps to dismantle its nuclear program since it demolished its only known nuclear testing site in May. 

Rumors have swirled that the two could meet again on the occasion of the United Nations General Assembly in New York next month. Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is believed to be preparing a fourth trip to Pyongyang to follow up on the summit agreement. 

Source: The Korea Herald 

IAEA: North Korea is Still Developing Nukes

In one of the most specific reports on Pyongyang’s recent nuclear activities, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) observed actions consistent with the enrichment of uranium and construction at the country’s main nuclear site. At a historic summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un in Singapore in June, the US president and North Korean leader agreed to work towards the “complete denuclearisation” of the Korean peninsula. But experts warned that without a formal deal between the US and North Korea, Kim would continue developing his nuclear and missile programmes. 

Speculation is growing that the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, is preparing to make a fourth visit to Pyongyang for nuclear negotiations. That trip could lead to North Korea giving the US a list outlining its nuclear arsenal and production facilities, according to the Korea Times. “North Korea plans to hand over a list of its secret nuclear test sites as well as information about its nuclear warheads to Mike Pompeo when he visits Pyongyang this month,” the paper said, citing an unnamed source. Kim was likely to meet Pompeo face to face, the newspaper added.  

Establishing a comprehensive list of the size of the nuclear programme and the locations involved has long been a demand of US negotiators, and would represent a significant concession from North Korea. In return, Pyongyang would likely seek a formal declaration of the end of the 1950-53 Korean war, which ended in an armistice rather than a peace treaty. North Korean state media has repeatedly mentioned this as a key roadblock to moving talks forward. But without inspectors on the ground, the list could fail to detail all the sites involved in the programme. 

While talks between the US and North Korea have stalled, South Korea has pushed ahead with its own diplomatic efforts. Reunions were held for divided families this week, and Seoul’s defence ministry is considering removing a reference to North Korea as its “enemy” in an annual white paper. 

Source: The Guardian 



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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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