Published: Fri, September 21, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Why The United States Should Follow South Korea's Lead On North Korea

Why The United States Should Follow South Korea's Lead On North Korea

South Korean President Moon Jae In will clear a top item off his bucket list on Thursday: Climbing Mount Paektu in North Korea with its leader Kim Jong Un.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in answers a reporter's question after returning from North Korea at a press center for the inter-Korean summit in Seoul, South Korea.

In his statement on Wednesday, Pompeo said commitments made at a summit between the leaders of North and South Korea were positive enough that the U.S.

Trump responded to news from the summit by saying he was "very excited", while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States was "prepared to engage immediately" with North Korea to move dialogue ahead.

Pompeo's statement came after the North and South Korean leaders met for a third summit and declared that progress had been made in efforts to normalize relations.

The United States appeared eager to seize on commitments by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at his talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in even as critics said the steps did little to put Pyongyang on a course for irreversible denuclearisation. Compared to the vague language of their two earlier summits, Kim and Moon seem to have agreed on an ambitious program meant to tackle soaring tensions a year ago that had many fearing war as the North tested a string of increasingly powerful weapons. He didn't indicate in his brief remarks whether the US would be willing to take further steps to encourage North Korean action on denuclearization.

Mr. Kim also promised to visit Seoul, the South Korean capital, which would make him the first North Korean leader to make such a trip.

The joint statement from the summit stipulates Kim's commitment to a "verifiable, irreversible dismantlement" of the nuclear programmes, and ending the war would be a first USA reciprocal step, Moon said.

South Korean president Moon Jae-in right and first lady Kim Jung-sook leave for Seoul at Samjiyon airport in North Korea Thursday Sept. 20 2018
South Korean president Moon Jae-in right and first lady Kim Jung-sook leave for Seoul at Samjiyon airport in North Korea Thursday Sept. 20 2018

Previously, Pyongyang has asked for "phased and synchronised measures" for denuclearisation, meaning the worldwide community would slowly relax or drop sanctions with each step in the denuclearisation process, rather than waiting until its completion. "They don't meaningfully constrain North Korea's nuclear programme". He also set a January 2021 deadline for North Korea's denuclearization.

North Korea leader Kim Jong-Un committed Wednesday to permanently shut down a key missile site under the supervision of foreign inspectors. Speaking before Pompeo's announcement, two senior US officials involved in US-North Korea policy voiced fears Kim was trying to drive a wedge between Washington and Seoul.

Although Mount Paektu straddles the North Korea-China border and can be reached from China, where it is known as Changbai Mountain, Moon has never visited.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday he had invited North Korea's foreign minister to meet in NY next week and other Pyongyang officials to Vienna for talks with nuclear envoy Stephen Biegun.

Among possible Pyongyang demands are the permanent end to "provocative" military exercises between the United States and South Korea, which North Korea says amount to invasion practice.

Washington will be reluctant to grant hasty concessions given North Korea's poor record during a quarter-century of on-off nuclear negotiations in following through on its promises.

A big part of any negotiation to end the war would be the status of the thousands of United States troops stationed in South Korea as part of the two countries' alliance. "Chairman Kim and I will rebuild our nation, with 80 million people of the North and South holding hand in hand, standing strong".

For its part, Pyongyang - which wants a formal declaration the 1950-53 Korean War is over - has condemned demands for its unilateral disarmament as "gangster-like".

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