PN's Voice 130

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PN's Voice 130, 15.03.2018
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PN's Voice No. 130,  15. 03. 2018 
Small steps, Road to peace

Tillerson Sacked; Seoul Says No Affect US-NK Summit

South Korea’s presidential office says the dismissal of U.S. State Secretary Rex Tillerson will not affect the upcoming inter-Korean summit or U.S.-North Korea summit. The dovish Tillerson was replaced by the more hawkish Mike Pompeo, who was director of the Central Intelligence Agency. A key presidential official relayed the top office’s stance through a telephone interview with Yonhap News on Wednesday. The official said that firing Tillerson may be part of U.S. President Donald Trump’s efforts to implement his policy as he sees fit, adding that what is important is Trump’s firm will to talk with the North. Another presidential official told Yonhap that regardless of Tillerson’s departure, the Seoul-Washington alliance will emain solid based on mutual trust between Moon and Trump.
Source : KBS News

NK Tones Down US Criticism Before Talks

North Korea is toning down its provocative and aggressive rhetoric against the United States, in an apparent move to evade unnecessary backfire before their scheduled leadership summit in May. The Rodong Sinmun, the regime's mouthpiece, described U.S. President Donald Trump, Tuesday, as the country's "leader," which the North has rarely done. Pyongyang has so far called him a "dotard" or "mad dog" due to his strong anti-North stance.

In an article, titled "U.S. triggers trade war," the newspaper delivered a story about Trump's recent decision to impose harsher tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. Unlike in the past, however, the regime focused on sending only "information" on the issue, with no tirades against Trump and the U.S. The regime's low-key posture comes in line with the ongoing "peace mood" between Washington and Pyongyang. Earlier this month, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un sent a message offering dialogue with his U.S. counterpart, and both sides agreed to go ahead with the summit sometime no later than May.
Source : The Korea Times

Trump: No NK Missile Tests 'in the Meantime'

US President Donald Trump says North Korea has agreed not to conduct missile tests “in the meantime”. He said; “They promised they wouldn’t be shooting off missiles in the meantime. And they’re looking to denuke.” He was in confident mood declaring he was sure the upcoming talks with North Korea would go well and would yield “something special”. Click the link below to watch a video with Trump’s full briefing. 
Source : The Korea Times

Americans Divided over US-NK Meeting

US voters are divided over whether U.S. President Donald Trump should meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un without concrete steps to dismantle the regime's nuclear weapons program, a survey showed on Wednesday. The poll by Politico and Morning Consult was conducted after Trump agreed to meet with Kim to discuss the North's denuclearization. Trump has said he will hold the summit before the end of May, which would make him the first sitting U.S. president to meet with a North Korean leader.

Forty-one percent of those surveyed said the two leaders should meet without preconditions, compared to 36 percent who said they should meet only if Kim makes prior concessions on his nuclear program. The survey was conducted on 1,992 registered voters from Friday to Sunday. The announcement on the summit was made Thursday. In a separate joint survey of 1,997 registered voters from Thursday to Monday, 45 percent said they have "some" to "a lot of" confidence in Trump to handle the North Korea problem. That was followed by 16 percent who didn't have much confidence and 31 percent who expressed "no confidence at all." 
Source : Yonhap News

 

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PN's Voice

Small steps, Road to peace

 

Two Koreas to March under United Korea Flag at Olympics

North and South Korea have agreed to march together under a single "unified Korea" flag at next month's Winter Olympics in PyeongChang next month. They also agreed to field a joint women's ice hockey team in rare talks at the truce village of Panmunjom. These announcements are the result of the first high-level talks between the countries in more than two years. It marks a thaw in relations that began in the new year when North Korea offered to send a team to the games.

If the plans are realized, a hundreds-strong North Korean delegation - including 230 cheerleaders, 140 orchestral musicians and 30 taekwondo athletes - could cross into the South via the land border to attend the Winter Olympics; this will be the first opening of the cross border road in almost two years. The proposed joint womens ice hockey team would represent the first time athletes from both Koreas have competed together in the same team at an Olympic Games.

The agreement will have to be approved by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Saturday, because North Korea has missed registration deadlines or failed to qualify. South Korea will also need to find ways to host the North Korean delegation without violating any existing UN Security Council sanctions which ban cash transfers to Pyongyang and blacklisting certain senior North officials.

Source: BBC

US S. Korea Confirm Theyre Still on the Same Page

South Korea and the United States confirmed on Thursday that there will be no break in the rotational deployment of high-profile U.S. defence assets to and around the Korean Peninsula. The announcement came after the surprise olive branch offered by North Korea that led to the first inter-Korean talks for 2 years. Resultingly, the North now plans to participate in the PyeongChang Olympics next month.

Concerns had grown that the North's sudden peace offensive could lead to Seoul and Washington butting heads over selecting the correct course of action for dealing with Pyongyang. However, the South Korean Ministry of National Defense confirmed that "In today's meeting, the U.S. side reaffirmed its firm security commitment to the defense of South Korea using all categories of its military capabilities." The two countries have "agreed to continue the rotational deployment of U.S. strategic assets to South Korea and nearby areas as long as North Korea's nuclear and missile threats persist," it added. For South Korean officials and media, U.S. strategic assets usually mean aircraft carriers, nuclear-powered submarines, strategic bombers and stealth fighter jets.

This announcement has been seen by some observers as an attempt to quell fears that Pyongyang is attempting to utilize peace talks as a strategy to drive a wedge between Seoul and Washington.

Source: Yonhap News

South Korea Vows to Continue NK Talks with Clear Eyes

South Korea has said it plans to continue high-level talks with North Korea with "clear eyes" amid global warnings that Pyongyang might be playing for time to continue its nuclear-arms programme. "We have to make the most" of the opportunity said South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha during an interview with the BBC.

The recent talks and announcements about a joint Korean team at the upcoming Olympics come as the US and its allies vowed to keep pressure on the North. On Wednesday US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the recent North Korean suggestion for talks showed that sanctions were "really starting to hurt", expressing confidence that the pressure would eventually force the North to the negotiating table over its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes. Tillersons thoughts were mirrored by his Japanese counterpart, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, who said the world should not be blinded by Pyongyang's recent "charm offensive". "It is not the time to ease pressure or to reward North Korea," Mr Kono said. "The fact that North Korea is engaging in dialogue could be interpreted as proof that the sanctions are working."

However, Ms. Kang affirmed that South Korea knew what it was doing in relation to its neighbour; "I think we understand North Korea better than anybody, having dealt with North Korea for decades, having had series of discussions off and on. We haven't had any significant engagement in the recent past - but this is an opportunityYou can have all kinds of theories of why there are here (at the talks). There are, obviously, calculations going on the part of the North Korea decision-makers as to their actions. But in the end we have to make the most of it.

  

Source: BBC News

  

Essay Moons Chance to Shine

Please click the link below to access the recent essay by Peace Network researcher Olly Terry on the prospects of President Moon Jae-in taking the opportunity given to him by Pyongyangs rapprochement into significant long-term progress on inter-Korean relations:

Link: Moon's Chance to Shine

  

 

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