Green light for sustainable peace after Olympics

Feb 12, 2018, 09:04 am

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Kim Yo-jong hands over a letter from her brother to South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the presidential Blue House in Seoul on Saturday./ Source: Yonhap News

By AsiaToday reporters Joo Sung-sik & Heo Go-woon  

With South Korean President Moon Jae-in's virtual acceptance of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's offer to come to Pyongyang, South Korea has gained momentum to continue improving inter-Korean relations brought on by the PyeongChang Olympics. However, there will be difficulties for the actual inter-Korean summit to take place as the United States have been taking a strict stance against North Korea and they wouldn't have dialogue with North Korea unless the North shows concrete steps towards denuclearization.

Many experts say that North Korea should change its position towards its nuclear issue while the United States should be proactive towards dialogue with North Korea in order for the inter-Korean talks between Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un to take place. They say that the South Korean government should consult closely with neighboring countries and the United States to draw North Korea's policy shift on its nuclear issue.

President Moon received the invitation, delivered by Kim Yo-jong, the North Korean leader's sister and close aide, during a meeting at the presidential Blue House in Seoul on Saturday. Moon responded, "Let's create conditions to make it happen," indicating that he was likely to accept the offer. The president expressed his willingness to pursue dialogue with the North as he has been advocating for improved inter-Korean relations despite a series of North Korean nuclear and missile provocations.

Of course, some experts say that Moon did not reveal clear acceptance of Kim's invitation to Pyongyang. They claim that the president indirectly expressed that the North Korean nuclear issue should be resolved first in order to hold a summit between two Koreas. A key official from the Blue House said, "In order for the inter-Korean summit to take place successfully, not only the inter-Korean relations but also the atmosphere, conditions and environment of the Korean Peninsula should be ripe." The official explained that the president mentioned the importance of North Korea-U.S. dialogue.

Experts stressed the need for a meeting between the North and the South to discuss the North Korean nuclear issue. "What's important is the meeting itself for dialogue," said Chung Young-tae, Director of Institute of North Korea Studies. " It's important to have an opportunity to meet and discuss the issue directly rather than what kind of talk that we will have with the North."

However, it's also necessary to develop a careful strategy on how to coordinate North Korean policies with the United States and neighboring countries, including China and Japan, while responding positively to North Korea's invitation for Moon-Kim summit. "Even before the end of the PyeongChang Olympics, President Moon should dispatch a special envoy to Pyongyang to find out what compromises the North has on the nuclear and missile issues, and it's necessary to consult the issues closely with the U.S., China, and Japan," said Cheong Seong-chang, an expert on North Korea at the Sejong Institute.

#Olympics #Kim Yo-jong #Kim Jong-un #sustainable peace #Olympics 
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