Ex-UN chief urges inter-Korean summit to focus on denuclearization

Ex-UN chief urges inter-Korean summit to focus on denuclearization

Kerry Wise
April 1, 2018

According to the Associated Press, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un will hold private discussions with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on April 27 at a border village located in the de-militarized zone between the two nations.

Washington fears that Seoul might drift from their alliance and move closer to Beijing, while Mr. Trump feels his approach to North Korea is being undermined in the wake of a flurry of diplomatic initiatives by Mr. Kim in recent weeks, especially his meeting this week with China's president, Xi Jinping, analysts said.

Next month's summit - a precursor to a potential meeting between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump - is the culmination of diplomatic efforts after North Korea fired a flurry of missiles a year ago. South Korean officials have said the meeting would take place by the end of May, after a North-South summit in April.

The committee posted a pledge on its website March 29 to resolve pending issues on the Korean Peninsula by "eliminating any dependence on outside influences".

The North's three delegates were led by Ri Son Gwon, chairman of a state agency that deals with inter-Korean affairs.

As for preparation, it agrees to hold a working level discussion on protocol, escort, and media coverage on April 4.

The agreement will also cap South Korean steel exports at 70 percent of what the country now exports to the United States in an average year and will impose a 10 percent tariff on aluminum exports from South Korea to the US.

Seoul also felt it could not afford a protracted trade dispute with its most important ally at a time when the two need to work together to contain a nuclear-armed North Korea, the officials told Reuters.

An advance team of Southern performers headed north on Thursday ahead of K-pop concerts in Pyongyang.

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Kim-Xi meeting US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told CNN Washington was "pleased" a date had been set for the summit between the two Koreas.

Trump agreed this month to accept an invitation to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

South Korean envoys who met with Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang this month said he had expressed willingness to negotiate with the United States about normalizing ties and giving up his country's nuclear weapons in return for security guarantees.

During a speech in Richfield, Ohio, Trump touted the renegotiation of the KORUS trade deal between the USA and South Korea as a major boost for the US.

Beijing welcomed Thursday's developments, with foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang saying improved relations between the Koreas "will help promote regional peace and stability". Kim's father and predecessor, Kim Jong Il, met with two South Korean presidents - Kim Dae-jung in 2000 and Roh Moo-hyun in 2007 - in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital.

China has always been the North's key diplomatic defender and provider of trade and aid, but relations have been strained by Pyongyang's weapons programmes, with Beijing showing a new willingness to implement United Nations sanctions against it.

Suga welcomed plans for an April 27 meeting between the leaders of the two Koreas as a sign of progress resulting from global pressure on North Korea.

The summit will be seen as a victory for South Korea President Moon Jae-in, who has always been pushing hard for diplomatic relations with North Korea.

The head of North Korea's delegation said before Thursday's talks that the past 80 days had been filled with "unprecedented historic events" between the two countries.