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North Korea – it’s summit time!
26 April 2018
The pace of developments on the Korean peninsular in the past month or so has been breathtaking matched by the plethora of pundits who have sought to interpret what it all means and where we may be headed. Not surprisingly given the history and geography and the stakeholders involved much of coverage has been confusing and often contradictory. Facts are hard to come by as also has been reliable inside information. But it is all about to kick off with the two Korean leaders holding their summit later this week in the DMZ. So what do we know?
Talk of peace with North Korea has the South wondering: Will this time be different?
After a historic summit between the two leaders of the Koreas, South Koreans told The Post April 27 they felt hopeful that change might be coming. (Joyce Lee, Daniel Smukalla/The Washington Post)
by Anna Fifield April 28 at 1:17 PM Email the author
SEOUL — After 65 years in a technical state of war that has periodically descended into real conflict, Koreans on both sides of the divide woke up Saturday to a mind-boggling prospect: Could they finally, finally, be on the brink of a cold peace?
Newspapers in South Korea and — astoundingly — in North Korea were plastered with photos of the South’s Moon Jae-in and the North’s Kim Jong Un meeting on the tense border that cleaves this peninsula in two.
Korea Business News April May 2018
Roger Barrett - Managing Director, Korea Business Group
As the final preparations are underway for a historical Third Inter-Korean Summit to be held close to PanMunJom, the ‘Truce Village’ tomorrow, on Friday 27th May 2018, we have good positive, but realistic expectations, for a ‘verifiable’ result. We have included one article from an Australian commentator, which we believe adds valuable context to the situation.
We at Korea Business News wish the negotiation teams and their leaders the very best of luck in the delicate but essential process of brokering peace. We hope the third time is a charm!
New era, no more war: Two Koreas agree on complete denuclearization
Published time: 27 Apr, 2018 09:05
A new era of peace is beginning, according to a declaration signed by the leaders of North and South Korea after their first meeting in over a decade. Both nations are aiming to completely denuclearize the Korean peninsula.
"South and North Korea affirmed their shared objective of achieving a nuclear-free Korean peninsula through complete denuclearization," reads the declaration signed by the leaders of the two countries, as cited by Yonhap.
“There will be no more war on the Korean peninsula, and a new age of peace has opened," the document adds.
The two sides also agreed to hold multi-party talks, involving the US and China, in their push for a full-scale truce. Pyongyang and Seoul are also to have high-level military talks in May.
Despite US President Donald Trump hailing the results of the talks, the peacemaking process on the peninsula does not meet the general ‘divide and rule’ principle, researcher and Asia specialist Dr. Tim Beal believes.
“Despite what Trump says, the US is unhappy about talks,” Beal told RT. The two Koreas making peace is “not welcomed in Washington, but of course they can’t admit that.”
The US leader is expected to meet his North Korean counterpart in the near future following months of harsh rhetoric between the two. Trump branded Kim “little rocket man,” receiving the famous “dotard” insult in return.
It is still hard to say what will come from the first meeting between the US president and North Korean leader, and although it will be “a great step forward,” it should not be overstated, according to Beal.
“Trump thinks he is going to a surrender ceremony…that is not going to happen,” Beal said. “Nothing will come of it. The United States is not really ready to negotiate with North Korea and the prospects for breakthrough at this meeting are fairly low.”
Korean Presidents’ Meeting is a Memorable Step Forward
What's happening in Korea?
The leaders of North and South Korea, Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in met in the Korean War truce village of Panmunjom today. It was the third inter-Korean summit, and the first such meeting in a decade.
[Summit18] [Panmunjom Declaration]
From nuclear weapons to peace - Inside the Korean summit declaration
Josh Smith, Christine Kim
North and South Korea made ambitious promises for peace on Friday, including to formally end the Korean War this year, but made only a vague commitment to “complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula” without specifics on how that key goal would be achieved.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un share a toast at the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, South Korea, April 27, 2018. Korea Summit Press Pool/Pool via Reuters
The declaration signed at the historic summit between the leaders of the two Koreas also did not mention several issues that have been prominent in the past, including human rights in North Korea and joint economic projects.
‘Emphasis Should Be Peace’: Denuclearization Demands Mustn’t Derail Korean Talks
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae In sat down for a historic meeting Friday, in one of the most important global diplomatic breakthroughs in recent memory.
Following the much-anticipated meeting, it was revealed that Kim and Moon had pledged to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula and formally end the Korean War. Active hostilities ended in 1953 when an armistice agreement was signed, although no permanent peace treaty was ever agreed to.
Speaking to Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear, Tim Beal, professor and author of "Crisis in Korea: America, China and the Risk of War, " suggested that the summit shows both North and South Korea are committed to working things out."
"To some extent it's no surprise… both sides being committed to this summit, the South especially," Beal told show hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou. "It's very much freighted with symbolism, but the key question… is what it leads on to."
Fellow Guest Gregory Elich, member of the Solidarity Committee for Democracy and Peace in Korea and author of "Strange Liberators: Militarism, Mayhem and the Pursuit of Profit,"I think it's going to help change the narrative so that no matter what the Trump administration chooses to do in the future, if it wants to go in a more war-like direction, it's going to have to work a lot harder to build up justification for that and that's a big plus for the Korean people and for the world," Elich told Becker. "I think the part of the Panmunjom Declaration [the agreement signed by Moon and Kim Friday] that's most interesting is the economic aspect."
[Summit18] [Peaceful coexistence] [Economic links]
North and South Korea Historic Meeting: The Politics Behind the Summit
On today's episode of Loud & Clear, Brian Becker and John Kiriakou are joined by Gregory Elich, a member of the Solidarity Committee for Democracy and Peace in Korea and the author of, “Strange Liberators: Militarism, Mayhem, and the Pursuit of Profit,” and author and professor Tim Beal whose most recent book is “Crisis in Korea.”
South and North Korea Prepare to Discuss an End to the Korean War
But Washington’s pundit class seems united against a peace process.
By Tim Shorrock
Today 2:51 pm
People hold hands as they wear masks of South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un during a pro-unification rally ahead of the upcoming summit between North and South Korea in Seoul, South Korea, April 25, 2018. (Reuters / Jorge Silva)
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On Friday, the leaders of North and South Korea, Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in, will meet at the truce village of Panmunjom for a historic summit that many Koreans believe could end the war and state of belligerence that has plagued both sides of the Korean Peninsula since the late 1940s.
Kim’s symbolic crossing of the border into the South could also pave the way for another precedent-shattering event: the planned summit in early June between Kim Jong-un and President Trump. If all goes well in the consecutive summits, the talks could end the threat of war—nuclear war—between North Korea and the United States and usher in a new era of peace in Northeast Asia.
To Korea hands who have seen tensions rise and fall over the years, the upcoming summits are a remarkable sign of progress toward ending a North Korean nuclear and missile program that started in the late 1980s to create a deterrent against the United States and succeeded in 2017 beyond anyone’s dreams in Pyongyang or Washington.
[Summit18] [Peace treaty]
2 Koreas to Discuss Disarming Soldiers in DMZ
By Jun Hyun-suk
April 26, 2018 09:48
North and South Korea will discuss a phased removal of guard posts in the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas as well as disarming the remaining soldiers stationed in the border truce village.
The idea is part of efforts by South Korea to turn the DMZ from a symbol of division into a symbol of peace, according to government sources.
Under the armistice that halted the Korean War in 1953, North and South Korean soldiers in the DMZ are allowed to carry handguns and non-automatic rifles.
President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who meet Friday, will also discuss opening a liaison office in the border truce village of Panmunjom staffed by workers from both sides, with regular meetings held there to discuss cross-border exchanges and military matters.
Moon will propose the gradual reduction of heavy weapons and troops in the DMZ, culminating in the withdrawal of guard posts. At present, North Korea has 160 and South Korea 60 guard posts.
The two Koreas are also considering the establishment of a military hotline.
But the two leaders will skirt the sensitive issue of the Northern Limit Line, the de-facto maritime border in the West Sea, which runs uncomfortably close to North Korea's coastline.
The South Korean government also hopes make summits between the two Koreas a regular fixture.
Kim Jong-un to Be Welcomed by S.Korean Honor Guard
April 26, 2018 11:51
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and President Moon Jae-in are expected to walk past a South Korean honor guard in front of the Peace House in the truce village of Panmunjom on Friday, a first for a North Korean leader, the Defense Ministry said Wednesday.
"Former Presidents Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun were welcomed by the North Korean military honor guards when they went to the North for the summits" with former leader Kim Jong-il, a government official said. "The decision was made based on reciprocity."
According to a press release from the ministry the gesture is one of "courtesy… aimed at establishing peace on the Korean Peninsula and restoring trust between the two sides."
The ministry was careful to deflect criticism by pointing to precedent. "The leaders of the U.S., the Soviet Union, and China inspected each other's honor guards even at the apex of the Cold War," it said.
"The custom originated from a ceremony aimed at displaying the ruler's power to foreign guests of state during the medieval times," it added.
But there will be no gun salute or ceremonial hoisting of flags since the summit takes place in the truce village.
World to watch historic summit Friday
Posted : 2018-04-26 16:42
Updated : 2018-04-26 17:28
By Kim Rahn
All eyes will be on Korea today as the leaders of the two countries meet at 9:30 a.m. for a historic summit that may pave the way for a resolution to North Korea's decades-long nuclear weapons program.
President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will have their first encounter when the latter crosses the military demarcation line on foot to the summit venue, the Peace House, a building on the southern side of the truce village of Panmunjeom.
[Summit18] [Wishful thinking] [Agency]
Korean peace treaty faces legal hurdles to become reality
By Tom Squitieri
Published April 26, 2018
Maj. Gen. Blackshear Bryan, left, opens the Korean armistice talks with with Lt. Gen. Lee Sang Cho of the North Korean forces (DoD photo)
WASHINGTON — Of all of the symbolism that may come from the summit between North and South Korea set to begin Friday, signing a formal document to end the war fought between the two more than six decades ago may be the most potent.
Fighting between the two Koreas — and by extension China with North Korea and the U.S and United Nation forces with South Korea — lasted three years. The fighting ended with an armistice, which is an agreement to stop hostilities.
That means that, technically, South Korea, the United States and other members of the United Nations that participated in the conflict are still in a state of war with North Korea.
“This is really about North and South Korea making peace,” Kevin Martin, president of Peace Action, said in an interview. “(South Korean President Moon Jae-in) was very clear and was supported on these grounds when he was elected last May.”
[Summit18] [Peace Treaty]
Summit Statement on Denuclearization Left to Leaders
By Jeong Woo-sang
April 25, 2018 11:21
The leaders of North and South Korea will work out their final joint statement on the question of denuclearization at the summit itself rather than hammering it out in advance.
Officials from the two sides have been preparing a joint statement to be announced after their summit on Friday, but the part about denuclearization has been left out.
A senior Cheong Wa Dae official said Tuesday, "Most of the terms will be agreed beforehand, but some will be decided by reflecting the results of the summit."
North and South Korea have prepared an agreement on two of the three main agenda items, which are the establishment of a peace treaty formally ending the Korean War and improving cross-border relations. But they failed to narrow their differences over the scrapping of North Korea's nuclear weapons.
"A large portion of the agreement should be negotiated by the leaders themselves during the summit," a senior government official told reporters Tuesday.
This is relatively rare in international summit diplomacy, which is mostly for show while the details have already been worked out behind the scenes and leaders sit around aimlessly exchanging pleasantries.
"North Korea has always been reluctant to discuss sensitive issues during working-level talks, saying such matters should be discussed at higher levels," the official added.
The summit starts on Friday morning with a group meeting followed by a one-on-one summit and dinner. President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will talk face-to-face for about three hours.
Moon has already claimed the North is willing to denuclearize "completely," but no direct comments from Kim have been reported.
The two leaders have also set up a hotline that could come in handy if they fail to reach agreement on Friday. But a high-ranking Cheong Wa Dae official said, "A phone call between the two leaders would be mainly symbolic, so is it really necessary?"
Asked whether there will have to be any follow-up visit by a South Korean envoy to the North, the official said, "Overall plans for the summit are going ahead without a hitch, so we need to wait and see if another high-level meeting is needed or we have to fine-tune some issues through other forms of contact."
President Moon views summit as establishing momentum for ongoing dialogue
Posted on : Apr.25,2018 16:21 KST Modified on : Apr.25,2018 16:21 KST
International sanctions on North Korea restrict economic cooperation projects that typified previous summit agreements
A paper dove sculpture created from messages in 43 different languages expressing the world’s wish for peace is displayed at the entrance to the Korea Exhibition Center in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province on Apr. 24. (by Kim Bong-gyu, staff photographer)
“There are currently many constraints on the inter-Korean summit. South and North cannot make any separate progress irrespective of the North Korea-US summit, nor are they able to make agreements beyond international sanctions. . . . It does seem clear, however, that we at least need to establish the momentum for dialogue to continue.”
These remarks were made by President Moon Jae-in during an invitational luncheon for media company presidents at the Blue House on Apr. 19. At the time, the remarks were seen as a formality intended to quiet excessive media hopes for the upcoming Apr. 27 inter-Korean summit. They weren’t.
President Moon set to propose permanent liaison office with North Korea
Posted on : Apr.25,2018 16:19 KST Modified on : Apr.25,2018 16:19 KST
The office would serve for political, military, and economic consultation
The meeting room inside the Peace House in the Panmunjeom Joint Security Area, where the inter-Korean summit will be held on Apr. 27. The room has a table that measures 2018mm, and a picture of Mt. Kumgang in the background. (Blue House Photo Pool)
During the summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un that is scheduled for Apr. 27, South Korean President Moon Jae-in reportedly intends to propose setting up and running a permanent deliberation and liaison office at Panmunjeom that would serve as an inter-Korean mission. Moon also reportedly means to propose establishing and operating inter-Korean joint committees to serve as permanent bodies for consultation in areas including politics, the military and the economy.
On Apr. 24, multiple sources who are familiar with the preparations that are being laid for the inter-Korean summit said that South Korea would be proposing a liaison office at Panmunjeom during the summit. While it is too early to be certain, the sources said, an agreement was possible.
Inter-Korean economic cooperation expected to discussed during summit
Posted on : Apr.25,2018 16:26 KST Modified on : Apr.25,2018 16:26 KST
Possible measures are limited due to the international community’s sanctions on North Korea
Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon (second from right) answers a question during a press conference at the Central Government Complex in Seoul on Apr. 24. (Yonhap News)
A senior South Korean government official who will be officially accompanying President Moon Jae-in to his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Apr. 27 said on Apr. 24 that the two leaders “will be able to have a candid discussion” of inter-Korean economic cooperation during the summit. This official added the caveat that “economic cooperation is not the primary agenda of this summit, and it will only be possible if there is [the easing of sanctions by the international community resulting from] progress on denuclearization.”
This suggests that while the summit will not lead to an announcement about an agreement for large-scale inter-Korean economic cooperation projects, Moon and Kim will have an in-depth discussion about inter-Korean economic cooperation. This is consistent with Moon’s remark during a luncheon with media company presidents on Apr. 19 that “there is not much that South and North Korea can discuss separately given the ongoing international sanctions” as well as the remark made by Im Jong-seok, chair of the summit’s preparatory committee, during a briefing on Apr. 17 that “we’re not thinking of including as much [in this summit statement] about inter-Korean economic cooperation or exchange and cooperation as we did in the June 15 Joint Statement or the Oct. 4 Summit Statement.”
[Summit18] [Economy] [Sanctions] US dominance]
Impossible dream? Unification less of a priority as Korean leaders prepare to talk
Posted : 2018-04-25 16:35
Updated : 2018-04-25 16:35
A tourist holding a parasol walks by a barbed-wire fence decorated by South Korean national flags at the Imjingak pavilion near the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas in Paju, South Korea, August 22, 2015. / Reuters
The recent detente between North and South Korea has given new life to talk of unification for the two countries divided since the 1950s.
It's a term that conjures up visions of the Berlin Wall falling, families reunited and armies disbanded.
Both Koreas have repeatedly called for peaceful unification and marched together under a unity flag at the recent Winter Olympics. And when a group of K-pop stars visited the North recently, they held hands with Northerners and sang, "Our wish is unification."
S.Korea Turns off Propaganda Speakers Along Border
By Yu Yong-weon
April 24, 2018 09:41
The Defense Ministry turned off anti-communist propaganda broadcast speakers along the border with North Korea at midnight on Monday.
The move came two days after North Korea announced it would halt all nuclear and missile tests as well as closing down its nuclear test site in Punggye-ri.
"We decided to turn off the broadcasts to ease tensions and create a peaceful atmosphere" ahead of the inter-Korean summit on Friday, a ministry spokesman said. "The decision was made at the Defense Ministry's discretion and we did not inform North Korea in advance."
North Korea also apparently halted its own tinny propaganda broadcasts on its side of the border.
Soldiers dismantle loudspeakers along the border in Paju, Gyeonggi Province on Tuesday. /Newsis
The sound systems along the border were seen as an effective means of psychological warfare and a steady thorn in the side of the North Korean regime.
Several North Korean defectors, including a soldier who crossed the mine-laden demilitarized zone last June, said in debriefing that the broadcasts played a role in their decision to escape. That is why North Korea has kept asking for a halt of the broadcasts whenever the chance arises.
The first propaganda broadcasts started in 1963, and they were halted more than five times so far when various kinds of rapprochement took place, only to resume when the North launched fresh provocations.
[Summit18] [Gesture] [Propaganda]
Schedule finalized for inter-Korean summit
Posted on : Apr.24,2018 16:11 KST Modified on : Apr.24,2018 16:11 KST
South Korean media will be allowed on the North Korean side of Panmunjeom for first time
How will the two leaders met at the inter-Korean summit?
A general schedule has been set for the historic summit on Apr. 27 between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. According to details announced by Blue House press center director Kwon Hyuk-ki following a third round of working-level talks on protocol, security, and press coverage on Apr. 23, Pyongyang is set to open the North Korea side of Panmunjeom up to South Korean press coverage for the first time since Korea’s division. The two leaders’ meeting as they attempt to overcome 70 years of division will be broadcast live around the globe. The world’s eyes and ears will also be focused on whether Kim’s wife Ri Sol-ju visits the South and what kind of official welcoming ceremony is staged.
'Hasty declaration to end war may cause confusion'
Posted : 2018-04-24 16:53
Updated : 2018-04-24 17:17
By Choi Ha-young
While speculation is circulating that "ending the Korean War" could be on the table in the upcoming inter-Korean summit, a legislative forum raised concerns that a hasty declaration to end the war may cause confusion.
The National Assembly Human Rights Forum led by Rep. Hong Il-pyo of the Liberty Korea Party called on the government to prioritize denuclearization and a peace treaty over the declaration of the end of the war.
"If the armistice loses its validity, the North may claim nullification of the Northern Limit Line (NLL)," Hong said Tuesday. "Therefore, the two Koreas should terminate the war after signing the peace treaty. Also, the envisioned treaty should stipulate that the two nations' territories will maintain the status quo."
Since the two Koreas technically remain at war under the armistice ? signed by the United Nations, China and North Korea ? ending the war means the end of the armistice. In a meeting with the media Friday, President Moon said that the declaration would take place before the peace treaty.
Even though chances are slim that President Moon and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will declare to end the war, they are expected to touch on the subject in an effort to achieve peace.
[Peace treat] [NLL] [Conservatives]
Confirmation bias on North Korea's denuclearization
Posted : 2018-04-24 14:48
Updated : 2018-04-24 14:48
By Oh Young-jin
Just days before the April 27 inter-Korean summit, the atmosphere is one of optimism.
If the past two summits serve as any guide, they are a cautionary tale, advising us not to be overly expecting.
Expectation over the stated goal of South Korea and the United States ? North Korea's willingness to separate itself from its nuclear programs or the so-called denuclearization ? is far from reality.
The North has never committed itself to it.
The South and the usually less emotional U.S. appear to have a case of confirmation bias ? seeing only what they want to see and what they want to hear. President Moon Jae-in positively believed that the North's denuclearization was doable, while U.S. President Donald Trump was no less positive.
[Denuclearisation] [Wishful thinking]
Moon to Rehearse for Broadcast of Inter-Korean Summit
April 23, 2018 12:47
President Moon Jae-in is rehearsing carefully for his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Friday, parts of which will be broadcast live to the whole world.
Presidential spokesman Yoon Young-chan said their first meeting in the truce village of Panmunjom will be covered from several angles.
Officials from both sides are still discussing security, protocol, and media coverage on Monday. They are expected to discuss when and how Moon and Kim will meet and whether they will give a joint press conference.
They will also discuss when the two leaders will have their first conversation on a new hotline.
"We have to check every scenario in advance, as their every move will be broadcast live to the entire world," a presidential official said.
Construction Materials Reach THAAD Base After Clashes with Protesters
April 23, 2018 13:34
Construction vehicles finally made it into a military base for a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense missile battery in Seongju, North Gyeongsang Province after police broke through a roadblock by protesters.
This move came after dozens of protesters clashed with police at the base's entrance, leaving several protesters injured. Demonstrators had been blocking the transport of construction materials and equipment into the THAAD site for months.
Moon calls North Korea's nuke test suspension 'good signal'
Posted : 2018-04-23 15:07
Updated : 2018-04-23 17:05
By Kim Rahn
President Moon Jae-in has welcomed North Korea's decision to suspend its nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests, saying Pyongyang showed its sincerity for denuclearization ahead of inter-Korean and Washington-Pyongyang summits.
He also called for bipartisan cooperation for the summits.
Moon's reaction came Monday, two days after the North announced it would suspend its nuclear and missile tests. North Korea also said its nuclear test site in Punggye-ri would be dismantled to transparently guarantee the discontinuance of further tests.
[Moratorium18] [Moon Jae-in]
Vietnam massacre victims testify at mock trial
Posted : 2018-04-22 16:31
Updated : 2018-04-23 13:13
By Choi Ha-young
Two survivors of a 1968 Vietnam War massacre, allegedly committed by South Korean soldiers, gave their testimonies in a hypothetical court hosted by local civic groups over the weekend, calling on the nation to admit to and apologize for the wartime crime.
The two Vietnamese women who have the same name ? Nguyen Thi Thanh ? respectively from Phong Nhi Village and Ha My Village, where massacres took place, relived their distressing memories during the "People's Tribunal" held at Oil Tank Culture Park in western Seoul.
Though it was a mock trial, it was held in preparation for their envisioned lawsuit for state compensation against the Korean government. Neither the Korean nor Vietnamese government has officially recognized the alleged massacre of Vietnamese civilians by Korean soldiers.
[Vietnam] [War crimes]
Unifications Ministry report documents cases of North Koreans who floated south after dying at sea
Posted on : Apr.22,2018 15:04 KST Modified on : Apr.22,2018 15:04 KST
Death is the one thing that is able to cross the lines of ideology
North Korean soldiers carry a coffin through the Panmunjeom Joint Security Area in July 2001. Inside the coffin was a body which had floated to South Korea from North Korea along the Imjin River. (by Jang Cheol-gyu, staff photographer)
41 of the 195 deceased persons with no surviving relatives who passed through Incheon Medical Center between 2001 and 2007 had met an unnatural death. 21 of them were North Koreans. Their bodies had drifted south on the sea after death for unidentifiable reasons.
Based on a report received from the Ministry of Unification entitled ‘Handling of Corpses of North Korean Citizens from 1999 to February 2018,’ National Assembly member Kim Hyun-kwon of the Democratic Party of Korea traced the relationship between the sea, the deaths, the division of the two Koreas and politics. Records obtained separately by lawmakers that pertained to the handling of individual corpses added to the story of ‘unknown deaths in this divided land.’ This is the first time that statistics and details have been released about the people who, after death, were able to cross the DMZ over the last 20 years.
[Reportage] An in-depth look at the Panmunjeom Joint Security Area
Posted on : Apr.22,2018 14:09 KST Modified on : Apr.22,2018 14:09 KST
The inter-Korean summit will take place at the Peace House on Apr. 27
How will the two leaders met at the inter-Korean summit?
It was a warm spring day as those of us in the Blue House press corps headed for Panmunjeom on April 18. The white blossoms of the cherry trees had already burst forth in the relaxing sunshine. In the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) south of the Military Demarcation Line (MDL), dandelions bloomed along the ridges between the rice paddies farmed by the residents of the Daeseong-dong Freedom Village.
The access road that leads into the Joint Security Area (JSA), where Panmunjeom is located, is part of Route 1. The road begins in Mokpo, South Jeolla Province, and passes through Seoul, Gaesong, and Pyongyang on its way to its terminus in Sinuiju. But beyond Panmunjeom we cannot go.
Moon Says N.Korea Willing to Scrap Nuclear Weapons
By Jeong Woo-sang
April 20, 2018 10:25
President Moon Jae-in on Thursday said North Korea is willing to denuclearize "completely" and is not setting any conditions that the U.S. cannot accept like withdrawal of U.S. troops from South Korea.
The international community is seeking the "complete, verifiable and irreversible" scrapping of North Korea's nuclear program.
Moon made this claim over lunch with the heads of South Korea's major news outlets. All North Korea is calling for is "the end of hostile policies" against it, "followed by a guarantee of security," he added. "It would be correct to think that is why North Korea wants to hold talks with the U.S."
[Moon Jae-in] [Denuclearisation] [Wishful thinking]
Live Broadcasts from Inter-Korean Summit Planned
April 19, 2018 09:32
North and South Korea have agreed to provide some live coverage of the inter-Korean summit next week, Cheong Wa Dae said Wednesday.
A Cheong Wa Dae spokesman said the two sides "agreed to let the world know via live coverage the main itinerary and events of the historic North-South summit starting with the handshake between the two leaders."
He said the "broad framework" of the summit has now been agreed, but additional negotiations are needed about protocol, security and media coverage.
South Korea proposed the live coverage in the first meeting of working-level officials on April 5, and North Korea agreed in the latest round of meetings.
Kim Jong-un will become the first North Korean leader to set foot on South Korean soil on live TV when he arrives on the southern side of the truce village of Panmunjom.
A Cheong Wa Dae official declined to say whether Kim will cross the military demarcation line by car or on foot. He said it is "too early to say" whether he will be accompanied by his wife Ri Sol-ju.
The summit will start at 10 a.m. and last until the afternoon.
Inter-Korean Summit website goes live
Apr 17, 2018
The online platform for the 2018 Inter-Korean Summit, to be held on April 27, opens on April 17 (www.koreasummit.kr). (Inter-Korean Summit Preparation Committee)
By Kim Young Shin
The online platform that will provide news and information about the upcoming Inter-Korean Summit went live on April 17 (www.koreasummit.kr).
This is the first time that the Korean government has provided a dedicated website to communicate with the public at large during an Inter-Korean summit. Although one past administration did have a website for the 2007 Inter-Korean Summit, it was only for the press.
The site is optimized for both smartphones and desktops, and it's offered in nine languages: English, simplified Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, German, French, Russian, Arabic and Vietnamese. It's managed by Korea.net (www.korea.net), part of the Korean Culture and Information Service in the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
The Preparation Committee for the 2018 Inter-Korean Summit said that it will share transparently all processes and results of the meetings to be held on April 27, and that it would also look back on the records and the significance of the past two Inter-Korean Summits in 2000 and 2007.
[Summit18] [Communications] [PR]
North and South Korea reportedly set to announce official end to war
Sam Meredith | @smeredith19
Published 17 Hours Ago Updated 12 Hours Ago CNBC.com
North and South Korea are in talks to announce a permanent end to the officially declared military conflict between the two countries, daily newspaper Munhwa Ilbo reported Tuesday, citing an unnamed South Korean official.
Ahead of a summit next week between North Korean premier Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, lawmakers from the neighboring states were thought to be negotiating the details of a joint statement that could outline an end to the confrontation.
Kim and Moon could also discuss returning the heavily fortified demilitarized zone separating them to its original state, the newspaper said.
Pyongyang and Seoul have technically been at war since the 1950-1953 Korean conflict ended with a truce — and not a peace treaty. Geopolitical tensions have occasionally flared up since the armistice, although to date both countries have managed to avoid another devastating conflict.
A successful summit between the Koreas later this month could help pave the way for a meeting between Kim and President Donald Trump. The U.S. president and North Korean leader are poised to hold talks in late May or June, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
[SK NK Negotiations] [Summit18]
Envoys Could Visit N.Korea Again Before Summit
By Jeong Woo-sang
April 18, 2018 11:00
National Security Council chief Chung Eui-yong and National Intelligence Service chief Suh Hoon could visit North Korea once more before the inter-Korean summit on April 27, presidential Chief of Staff Im Jong-seok said Tuesday.
It seems the two sides have trouble ironing out disagreements over the agenda after several rounds of working-level talks.
Chung and Suh went to Pyongyang in March as special envoys of President Moon Jae-in to arrange the summit.
Human Rights Kept off Inter-Korean Summit Agenda
By Park Don-kyoo
April 14, 2018 08:14
Human rights will not be on the agenda of a historic inter-Korean summit in two weeks' time. The meeting in the border truce village of Panmunjom is expected to lay the groundwork for a solution to the North Korean nuclear standoff. But the North's gross human rights abuses will be passed over in silence.
Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and other international human rights organizations sent a letter to President Moon Jae-in on Monday calling on him to include human rights on the agenda. Last month, around 30 human rights groups in South Korea also sent a petition to Cheong Wa Dae. Former vice unification minister Kim Suk-woo said, "There can be no genuine peace without resolving the human rights problems in North Korea."
[Summit18] [NGO] [Softwar] [Conservatives]
Frustration Mounts as Protesters Block THAAD Site Access
By Yu Yong-weon
April 13, 2018 12:35
The site of a Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense battery in Seongju, North Gyeongsang Province has become like a desert island for the U.S. soldiers marooned there, cut off from the outside world by protesters' barricades since April last year.
The protesters only let South Korean soldiers through, but no materials or equipment, so the American soldiers have to be helicoptered in and out. Their mission is to keep the THAAD's radar working with an emergency generator running on airlifted fuel. Some 340 liters of jet fuel is needed to operate the 1.3 MW generator for an hour, and it cannot be run for too long.
The radar is therefore turned off at normal times but turned on whenever there is a sign of North Korea preparing to fire a missile or just to keep it in working order.
Currently, only a single THAAD battery with six launch pads, an AN/TPY-2 radar and the generator are deployed in Seongju. But the reserve stock of missiles and 48 anti-ballistic interceptor missiles are still kept at Camp Carroll in Waegwan, North Gyeongsang Province.
President Moon views inter-Korean summit as opportunity to take a firm step toward peace
Posted on : Apr.12,2018 18:22 KST Modified on : Apr.12,2018 18:22 KST
Blue House to set up a comprehensive situation room under the summit preparatory committee
South Korean President Moon Jae-in speaks with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono at the Blue House on Apr. 11. (Blue House Photo Pool)
“Right now, we’re standing at the beginning of a long journey toward peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula. We’re seeking to take the lead in initiating a transformation of world history consisting of permanent peace and the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the sustainable development of inter-Korean relations,” South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Apr. 11.
Moon made these remarks while presiding over a meeting of the preparatory committee for the inter-Korean summit. “We must prepare prudently and faithfully with an earnest heart while staying alert until the final moment,” he said.
“Rather than approaching this with the excessive ambition of solving all the problems at once, I hope you will approach the inter-Korean summit [on Apr. 27] as an opportunity to restore inter-Korean relations, which have been severed for so long, and to create a firm stepping stone toward peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula.”
[Summit18] [Moon Jae-in] [Rhetoric]
[Photo] Demonstrations continue against THAAD deployment
Posted on : Apr.12,2018 18:18 KST Modified on : Apr.12,2018 18:18 KST
Residents and civic groups opposed to the THAAD deployment clashed with police at the Jinbat Bridge in Seongju, North Gyeongsang Province on Apr. 12. On this day, the Ministry of National Defense was moving materials for the construction of facilities at the THAAD base. 3000 police were mobilized to stop the demonstrators from blocking the construction material entering the base. An emergency medical team was dispatched to the site of the demonstrations after one elderly woman injured her ribs during a scuffle with the police.
Following the clash, a senior official from the MND met with residents and agreed to halt further delivery of construction material. 12 trailers were also allowed into the base to remove forklifts, bulldozers, and other equipment which had already been placed on the base.
The Korean Peninsula planted [PHOTOS]
Posted : 2018-04-13 17:12
Updated : 2018-04-13 17:12
"Flower garden of peace" in front of City Hall in Jung-gu, Seoul / Korea Times photo by Shim Hyun-chul
By Ko Dong-hwan
A courtyard in front of Seoul City Hall became an extraordinary canvass Friday where flowers and lawn gardening designed the shape of the Korean Peninsula.
The "flower garden of peace" commemorates the upcoming North-South Korea summit at the truce village of Panmunjeom on April 27. It will remain there until the date.
Park hit with 24 year prison sentence
Posted on : Apr.7,2018 17:52 KST Modified on : Apr.7,2018 17:52 KST
The former president was convicted on a variety of bribery and corruption charges
The defendant’s chair sits empty as former president Park Geun-hye refused to appear for her sentencing at the Seoul Central District Court on Apr. 6. The sentencing hearing was broadcast live nationwide, a first in the country’s history. (taken from Yonhap TV)
Former South Korean President Park Geun-hye could not shake a harsh sentence of 24 years because the district court ruled that she had received around 23.2 billion won (US$22.1 million) in bribes, representing the gravest charges she was facing. The court convicted Park of 16 of the 18 charges against her, which means that Park has now been punished for the majority of her influence-peddling, first by the Constitutional Court and now in criminal court as well. But the court did find that Park made no inappropriate request to Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, clearing her of the charge of “third-party bribery” with Samsung.
On Apr. 6, the 22nd criminal division at the Seoul Central District Court under Hon. Kim Se-yun ruled that the 7.29 billion won (US$6.8 million) of equestrian support that Samsung gave to Chung Yoo-ra, daughter of Choi Soon-sil, was a bribe received by Park.
[Park Geun-hye] [Corruption]
Focusing on Korea's true security challenges before, and after, the South-North summit
Posted : 2018-04-08 14:24
Updated : 2018-04-08 17:15
By Emanuel Pastreich
At last, even the mainstream media is starting to admit that a North-South Summit, followed by a U.S.-DPRK summit will not transform the world overnight. Neither President Moon nor President Trump is capable of parting the waters like Moses, or of raising the dead like Jesus.
They can make powerful symbolic actions which, if preceded by, and followed up with, long-term systematic efforts by government, industry and civil society could be transformative.
Cheonan Sinking Casts Long Shadow Over Cross-Border Thaw
By Lee Yong-soo, Jun Hyun-suk
April 04, 2018 09:34
North Korea's state-run Rodong Sinmun daily on Tuesday again claimed that the sinking of the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan in 2010 was a fabrication by the South.
A day earlier, Kim Yong-chol, the head of North Korea's United Front Department, had jokingly introduced himself to South Korean reporters as "what South Koreans are calling the mastermind of the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan sinking."
Apparently answering the furious response to the gaffe in the South Korean media, the Rodong Sinmun said the sinking was an "extraordinary plot concocted by the pro-American and conservative regime to heighten conflict in the North-South conflict."
[Cheonan] [Kim Yong Chol] [Conservatives]
2 Koreas Stage Joint Concert in Pyongyang
By Kim Myong-song
April 04, 2018 10:02
North and South Korean musicians staged a joint concert in Pyongyang on Tuesday attended by 12,000 North Koreans.
Among them were Kim Yong-chol, the head of North Korea's United Front Department, Ri Son-gwon, the chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, Culture Minister Pak Chun-nam and Samjiyon Orchestra head Hyon Song-wol. South Korea was represented by Unification Minister Do Jong-whan.
Girl group Red Velvet perform with North Korean singers in Pyongyang on Tuesday. /Newsis
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his wife Ri Sol-ju had wanted to attend Tuesday's joint concert but due to scheduling conflicts went to a performance by South Korean musicians only on Sunday.
South Korean singers arrive at Incheon International Airport from Pyongyang on Wednesday. /Yonhap
The concert started at 3:30 p.m. and lasted about two hours. The audience applauded when singers from both sides sang the North Korean song "Paektu and Halla are My Nation," which praises the ruling Kim dynasty.
[Joint Korean] [Concert]
Kim Jong-un Attends S.Korean Pop Concert with Wife and Sister
By Lee Tae-hoon, Kim Myong-song
April 02, 2018 09:40
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un attended a concert by South Korean musicians in Pyongyang on Sunday with his wife Ri Sol-ju and sister Kim Yo-jong.
Other dignitaries in the audience included titular head of state Kim Yong-nam, Choe Hwi, chairman of the country's National Sports Guidance Committee and Ri Son-kwon, chairman of the North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland.
Meeting the dozens of South Korean performers, Kim said, "Cultural performances must be held often. The South put on a concert this time, so let's have a concert in Seoul in the fall."
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (left) and South Korean Culture Minister Do Jong-hwan react at a South Korean concert in Pyongyang on Sunday.
The concert was originally scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, but that was changed twice. With just a few hours left before it was scheduled to start, North Korean officials changed the time to 7:30 p.m., and then again to 6:30 p.m.
North Korean officials said the change was to allow more people to attend the event, but the real reason seems to have been to accommodate Kim, who had told South Korean officials that he had intended to watch Tuesday's concert, where North and South Korean will perform jointly, but had to come early due to a schedule conflict.
The concert finally started at 6:50 p.m. and ended at 9 p.m., and all 1,500 seats in the hall were filled.
Seo-hyun of girl group Girls' Generation hosted the show and some 25 singers including Cho Yong-pil, Lee Sun-hee, Baek Ji-young and Red Velvet performed.
South Korean singers rehearse for a concert in Pyongyang on Sunday.
Kim and his wife were applauding during the concert and Kim shook hands with each of the performers and took pictures with them after the show.
But South Korean reporters who traveled to Pyongyang to cover the performance were locked out. When they protested, their North Korean minders apparently told them be patient and kept them waiting under guard in the lobby.
Meanwhile, South Korean taekwondo athletes gave their own demonstration on Sunday, and a cross-border taekwondo performance is set to take place on Monday, and the joint concert on Tuesday.
[Inter-Korea] [Concert] [K-pop]
[Editorial] Crisis collides with opportunity for Apr. 27 inter-Korean summit
Posted on : Mar.30,2018 20:36 KST Modified on : Mar.30,2018 20:36 KST
During the high-level talks that were held in Panmunjeom on Mar. 29, South and North Korea settled on Apr. 27 as the date for the summit between Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un. South Korean officials reportedly suggested multiple dates for the summit, including Apr. 26 and 27, and Apr. 27 was chosen in the following discussion. With the date settled, the task that now remains is making every preparation so that the meeting can be a success.
Can North Korea Handle a K-Pop Invasion?
By Motoko Rich and Su-Hyun Lee
March 30, 2018
TOKYO — Cavorting in sparkly miniskirts and midriff-baring tops, the five members of Red Velvet, one of South Korea’s most popular girl bands, belted out one of their hits, “Red Flavor.”
“We look good together, we’re pretty cool / I like it, it was love at first sight,” they crooned in Japanese, tossing their long hair and flashing runway-worthy pouts on Thursday night, as 10,000 fans at a Tokyo arena shrieked and waved bright pink light sticks in unison to the hip-hop beat.
Yes, but will it play in Pyongyang?
On Saturday, Red Velvet, along with 10 other acts from South Korea, will travel to North Korea to perform in concerts staged by Seoul as part of a campaign of cultural diplomacy.
It is yet another sign of how the usually reclusive North Korean regime is strategically opening itself to the outside world as it hints it may be willing to roll back its nuclear program.
[Inter-Korean] [Concert] [K-pop] [Culture]
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