PN's Voice 144

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PN's Voice 144, 06.11.2018
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PN's Voice No. 144  06 11. 2018 
Small steps, Road to peace


Kim Jung-un Meets Cuban Leader

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel visited Pyongayng this week and met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. North Korea’s welcoming of the Cuban delegation is part of an outreach effort by Pyongyang to boost bilateral relations with a number of nations, which is reportedly likely to include Kim visiting Russia soon (see below). Kim has also expressed his intention to become the first North Korean leader to visit South Korea. 

Source : The Korea Times 

Kim Jung-un Expected to Visit Russia this Month

South Korea's top diplomat in Moscow, Woo Yoon-keun, said earlier this week that he expected North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to visit Russia this month. "Russia has asked for Kim's visit within this year and expects it to happen. But North Korea seems to be weighing the time and place while looking into the agenda and possible agreement with Russia," Woo said. 

In his visit to Pyongyang in late May, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov delivered President Vladimir Putin's wish for Kim to attend the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok in September or make a separate visit to Russia. Russian Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, who visited Pyongyang to celebrate North Korea's 70th founding anniversary in September, said Kim's Russian visit could come within this year.

Source : Yonhap News

S.K.-U.S. to Resume Drills Ahead of Nuclear Talks

The United States and South Korea have resumed some military exercises just days ahead of a high-profile meeting focused on denuclearisation between US secretary of state Mike Pompeo and North Korean officials. About 500 South Korean and American marines will take part in the drills on Monday, which were previously indefinitely suspended in June after Donald Trump met North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore. Pyongyang often bristles at joint US-South Korean military exercises, claiming they are provocations directed at the North, and officials hoped the suspension would encourage talks. 

The manoeuvers, part of the Korean marine exchange program, will take place in the southern South Korean city of Pohang, according to the South Korean defense ministry. The location of the drills, far from the border with North Korea, as well as the low-key nature of the drills is significant. In hopes of giving the diplomatic talks with the North a chance, Seoul and Washington have mostly cancelled the large-scale drills, favouring to only run much smaller drills. Decisions over major military exercises for next year are expected to be made by the end of the year. 

Source : The Guardian

Moon Vouches for Kim’s Sincerity for Denuclearization 

President Moon Jae-in of South Korea takes every opportunity to describe Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s leader, as a “young and candid” strategist, one who is ready to bargain away his nuclear arsenal to secure economic growth for his impoverished nation. Moon is attempting something that none of his predecessors who favoured dialogue with the North has been able to achieve: changing the perspective of North Korea as a regime that simply cannot be trusted.

For decades, it has been an article of faith among Washington’s foreign policy establishment, as well Mr. Moon’s conservative critics at home, that North Korea will renege on any agreement made. For that reason, they say, there can be no substantial concessions to the North in the talks over its nuclear weapons until it takes real steps toward disarming.

Mr. Moon, who has met with Mr. Kim three times this year, has repeatedly endorsed him as a leader of good faith. After their first meeting in April, Mr. Moon’s office quoted Mr. Kim as saying, “I know that the Americans are viscerally repulsed by us North Koreans, but if they talk with us, they will find out that I am not the type of person who would shoot a nuclear missile to the South or toward the Pacific or at the United States.”

President Moon worked hard to faciliated the unprecedented summit talks between Mr. Kim and President Trump in Singapore this summer and is helping to arrange a second meeting between the two. He is also lobbying for Pope Francis to visit the North, which would be another first. A central message in Moon’s diplomatic efforts is that Kim truly wants to be a great economic reformer for his country, and that the world must not miss the opportunity. Mr. Kim, he says, intends to negotiate away his nuclear weapons if Washington lifts sanctions and provides security guarantees, like a peace treaty ending the Korean War, so he can focus on economic development.

Source : The New York Times 

N. Korea Poised to Allow Inspectors into Nuclear Test Site 

According to South Korea’s National Intelligence Service, North Korea is preparing its nuclear test site at Punggye-ri for international inspectors. A thaw in inter-Korean tensions has facilitated the potential visit from foreigner inspectors. South Korean intelligence officials have observed what they believed to be preparations for possible inspections at Punggye-ri nuclear test site and the Sohae Satellite launching ground.

The site was officially closed in May, when North Korea invited a handful of international journalists to observe as the tunnels where previous nuclear tests were conducted were sealed with explosions. Experts at the time said the move was mostly symbolic, and radiation monitoring equipment brought by reporters was confiscated by North Korea officials. No major movements were seen at Yongbyon, the North’s main nuclear complex.

Source : The Guardian 

 
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