PN's Voice 137
Peace Network Korea
PN's Voice 137, 10.05.2018
Mit freundlicher Erlaubnis von Peace Network
PN's Voice No. 137, 10. 05. 2018
Small steps, Road to peace
North Korea frees three US detainees ahead of Trump summit
North Korea has freed three US citizens from prison; it is viewed as a goodwill gesture ahead of a historic summit between Mr Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong-un. Mr Trump said he would greet the men when they return with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has been in Pyongyang to arrange the planned talks. Kim Hak-song, Tony Kim and Kim Dong-chul boarded the plane "without assistance", the White House said. They had been jailed for anti-state activities and placed in labour camps. "They seem to be in good health," he wrote, adding that a date and location had been set for talks after Mr Pompeo held a "good meeting" with Kim Jong-un.
Reporters travelling with Mr Pompeo said their meeting lasted about 90 minutes. In his tweet, Mr Trump added that he would personally greet the detainees when they arrive at Andrews Air Force Base on Thursday. One of the detainees was jailed in 2015, the other two have been in prison for just over a year. Their convictions have been widely condemned as political and an abuse of human rights. The fate of the detainees has been a key factor in the build up to the Trump-Kim meeting.
Source : BBC News, Reuters
South Korea working for release of its citizens held in North Korea
South Korea will continue to make active efforts to secure the release of six South Koreans detained in North Korea, the Unification Ministry said Wednesday, after the release of three detained American citizens (see above).
"Our government has worked to resolve the detainee issue through inter-Korean talks and cooperation with the international community, and it will continue to make active efforts to bring back those detainees as soon as possible," Unification Ministry spokesman Baik Tae-hyun said during a regular press briefing. Currently, six South Koreans are held in North Korea, most of whom were said to have been taken to the country near the North-China border. They include three pastors -- Kim Jung-wook, Kim Kuk-gi and Choe Chun-gil -- who were sentenced to hard labor for life on charges of spying for South Korea's spy agency.
Source : Korea Times
Trump officials prepare for Singapore summit with North Korea
Administration officials have been instructed to move forward with plans to convene a historic summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore, according to two people familiar with the plans. The decision is ultimately up to Trump, who said on Wednesday he would announce the time and location in three days. Speaking to reporters at the White House, Trump ruled out the Demilitarized Zone on the Korean border as a potential location for the talks with Kim. Singapore and the DMZ are the only two places Trump has floated in public as potential venues for the meeting. The Southeast Asian city-state has been the preferred location among US officials, who saw its neutrality as an advantage over locations closer to Pyongyang.
Speaking during a briefing Wednesday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders affirmed that a date and site had been determined. "I can tell you that a date and location are set but beyond that, I don't have any other announcements at this point," Sanders said. "But we expect that to be announced here in the next few days."
Even as Trump on Wednesday sought to heighten expectations for his summit, he acknowledged that the plans could fall apart. "Everything can be scuttled. Everything can be scuttled," he said. "A lot of good things can happen, a lot of bad things can happen. I believe that we have -- both sides want to negotiate a deal. I think it's going to be a very successful deal." But, he repeated, "lots of things can happen. And, of course, you'll be the first to know about it if it fails."
Source : CNN News, The Guardian
Kim Jong-un meets Xi Jinping in second surprise visit to China
The North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, has made a second surprise visit to China to meet its president, Xi Jinping, amid a flurry of diplomacy as Kim prepares for a summit with Donald Trump. Kim flew to the Chinese port city of Dalian and held talks “in a cordial and friendly atmosphere” with Xi over two days before returning to Pyongyang on Tuesday, China’s state news agency Xinhua said in announcing the trip. It is the second meeting between the two leaders in about 40 days, and was kept secret until Kim had left China. Shortly after the summit was reported, Trump said on Twitter he would speak to Xi by phone about North Korea, where he said “relationships and trust are building”. Kim and Xi discussed relations between their two countries as well as “major issues of common concern”, and Kim restated Pyongyang’s desire to relinquish its nuclear arsenal.
“It has been the DPRK’s consistent and clear stand to achieve denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula,” Kim said according to paraphrased remarks reported by Xinhua. “As long as relevant parties abolish their hostile policies and remove security threats against the DPRK, there is no need for the DPRK to be a nuclear state and denuclearisation can be realised.”
It was not immediately clear what security threats Kim was referring to, but experts have said North Korea may push for the removal of some or all of the 28,000 US soldiers currently stationed in South Korea. The meeting comes as Kim prepares to meet Trump, who has said the date and location of the summit is fixed but has yet to make details public. “I hope to build mutual trust with the US through dialogue,” Kim was quoted as saying. He said he hoped to take “phased and synchronous measures” in order to “eventually achieve” a formal peace treaty with Seoul – the two neighbours are still technically in a state of war – and a nuclear-free Korean peninsula. The statement seemed to be at odds with demands from the US, which has called on North Korea to immediately disarm.
Although Kim’s meeting was reported in North Korean media, his remarks on denuclearisation were noticeably absent. Kim travelled to Dalian by plane, in a public and telling break with his father’s traditional means of travel – he insisted on only using an armoured train due to a fear of flying.
Source : The Guardian
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