PN's Voice 141
Peace Network Korea
PN's Voice 141, 06.09.2018
Mit freundlicher Erlaubnis von Peace Network
PN's Voice No. 141 06 09. 2018
Small steps, Road to peace
Kim Jong-Un meets S. Korean Special Delegation
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un met with a special delegation of South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday, possibly reaffirming his commitment to establishing peace on the Korean Peninsula and denuclearizing his country. Chung Eui-yong who is the top security adviser to President Moon and head of the presidential National Security Council, is heading a five-member delegation that includes the head of the National Intelligence Service, Suh Hoon, and Vice Unification Minister Chun Hae-sung.
The North Korea trip by Moon's special envoy is largely aimed at making arrangements for what would be a third inter-Korean summit between Moon and Kim who have already agreed to meet in Pyongyang this month. The South Korean officials, however, were also expected to work to remove an apparent stumbling block in denuclearization talks between the United States and North Korea.
Denuclearization talks between the U.S. and the North seemed to reach an unprecedented level following the historic U.S.-North Korea summit in June. The talks, however, stalled after Trump called off a scheduled North Korea trip by his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, citing a lack of progress in North Korea's denuclearization process. However, Chung said an improvement in inter-Korean relations may even help salvage the stalled denuclearization negotiations between the U.S. and the North.
Source: Yonhap News, New York Times
U.S. Against Train project linking Two Koreas
A rail project meant to connect North and South Korea has been blocked by US military officials, highlighting divisions between Washington and Seoul on how to deal with the nuclear armed North. The two Koreas planned to begin a joint field study last week by sending a train from Seoul across the length of North Korea to Sinuiju, on the Chinese border, but their application was denied by the US-led United Nations Command.
The denial underscores a growing split between South Korea, which favours engagement with North Korea, and the US, where officials have demanded denuclearisation as a prerequisite to any economic cooperation. The move came as Donald Trump berated China for “providing North Korea with considerable aid, including money, fuel, fertiliser and various other commodities”.
The rail project is part of a wider push by South Korean Moon Jae-in to improve inter-Korean relations and set the stage for large-scale investment if sanctions, designed to punish the North for its nuclear weapons program, are lifted. Moon has called for rail links by the end of the year.
Moon will push for as many projects as he can without antagonizing Washington, said Mintaro Oba, a former US diplomat who focused on North Korea policy. “But there is definitely potential for a wider gap between the allies if the relationship is not managed carefully,” he said. “While there’s some common ground there, it means Seoul sees ambitious inter-Korean projects as supporting its goals - while the United States tends to see them as undermining its leverage to get denuclearisation,” he added.
Source: The Guardian
Top Chinese Official Will Visit North Korea
President Xi Jinping of China will send a top official to North Korea this weekend to attend major national celebrations there, state-controlled media in both countries reported on Tuesday. Li Zhanshu, a member of the Politburo Standing Committee and the head of China’s rubber-stamp Parliament, will lead a delegation to Pyongyang, the capital, on Saturday as Mr. Xi’s special envoy, the North’s official Korean Central News Agency said. North Korea plans to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of its government on Sunday with large celebrations, including a military parade.
There had been speculation in recent weeks that Mr. Xi might attend the celebrations himself, in what would have been his first visit to North Korea. Mr. Xi has met three times this year with the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, but always in China. Mr. Xi might have been put in an embarrassing position if the military parade had shown off nuclear-capable weaponry while he and Mr. Kim looked on. China has supported many proposals for encouraging the North to give up nuclear arms, and it expressed satisfaction after Mr. Kim made a vague commitment to denuclearization at his June meeting with President Trump in Singapore. A visit to Pyongyang by Mr. Xi might also have risked annoying Washington, which has been urging Beijing to maintain “maximum” pressure on the North to give up nuclear weapons.
China has joined efforts to impose tough sanctions on the North, but it remains the country’s single largest trading partner, accounting for more than 90 percent of its external trade. As the two countries’ relationship has improved this year following Mr. Kim’s meetings with Mr. Xi, American officials have worried that China is easing up on sanctions enforcement.
Source: The New York Times
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