What’s at stake in the North-South Korea summit?

20 September, 2018, 04:19 | Author: Jason Torres
  • Ailee And Block B's Zico To Perform In North Korea For Inter-Korean Summit

"Not a tentative change which could be volatile dependent on worldwide situation, but irreversible, permanent and unwavering peace, regardless of what might happen on the global arena", said Moon.

Moon has said the reconnection of railroads and roads is the beginning of mutual prosperity on the Korean Peninsula, and he intends to play an active role in moving the denuclearization progress forward by visiting Pyongyang later this month to hold another summit with Kim.

Other delegates include Archbishop Hyginus Kim Hee-jung of the Catholic church, a female ice hockey player who led the joint inter-Korean team which competed in the South's 2018 Winter Olympics, and K-pop star Ailee. Tens of thousands of citizens dressed in colorful national costumes and waving flags and paper-flower bouquets lined up in the streets chanting "Unification!" North Korean soldiers and naval troops quick-marched into position to welcome Moon, and the two leaders inspected the honor guard, according to South Korean media pool footage from the site. "Now it's time to bear some fruits", Moon said.

It's the third meeting between Moon and Kim - and the first to take place outside of the "truce village" of Panmunjom, on the border.

Political parties responded to the third inter-Korean summit in Pyongyang along partisan lines, with some opposition lawmakers calling for North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's "official announcement" of the country's complete denuclearization before talking about any future economic collaborations.

North Korea has embarked on an unprecedented series of meetings this year with both the South and the US. Some of the South Korean artists accompanied Kim's wife, Ri Sol Ju, and Moon's wife, Kim Jung-sook, on trips on their visit to a children's hospital and a music university in Pyongyang. Most major detente projects with North Korea started by his liberal predecessors during a 1998-2008 "Sunshine Era" were suspended after conservatives took power. Kim twice met with Moon's special envoys at the party headquarters this year. The talks are to continue Wednesday and Moon is expected to return to Seoul on Thursday.

The South Korean president has also said he will focus on easing military tensions and promoting talks on denuclearisation.

Washington wants to see concrete action toward denuclearisation by North Korea before agreeing to a key goal of Pyongyang - declaring an end to the Korean War. Moon will hold another round of formal talks with Kim on Wednesday as he tries to convince him to make substantive steps towards disarmament that he can present to Trump, whom Moon is due to meet later this month on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in NY.

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Moon is the third South Korean leader to visit North Korea's capital for summits, but the first since 2007.

At his summit with Kim in June, Trump said the US would halt "war games" with South Korea.

On this trip, the two leaders are expected to discuss a host of issues, including economic cooperation, North Korea's nuclear-weapons program, and further steps to end the Korean War.

Underscoring the challenges ahead, North Korea's official Rodong Sinmun said on Tuesday "the responsibility falls squarely on the United States" for the stalled nuclear discussions. The peninsula has remained split since the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended in an armistice rather than a peace treaty.

But Trump has also reportedly expressed deep skepticism of the USA military presence in South Korea.

To keep expectations from getting too high, Moon's chief of staff, Im Jong-seok, said it's "difficult to have any optimistic outlook" for progress on denuclearization during the summit.

And also that inter-Korean summits could now be held any time, even just for one day without any preparation, allowing the two leaders to meet whenever they wish.

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