Moon says he will not rush inter-Korean summit

Feb 19, 2018, 08:51 am

print page small font big font

facebook share

tweet share

President Moon Jae-in passes journalists during a visit to the Main Press Center at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang on Saturday./ Source: Yonhap News

By AsiaToday reporter Joo Sung-sik

President Moon Jae-in on Sunday said that he will not hurry to promote the inter-Korean summit invited by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Moon showed a careful attitude that he would think more calmly about how to arrange Kim Jong-un's invitation for a summit in Pyongyang delivered by Kim's younger sister Kim Yo-jong, who visited as part of a high-level delegation to attend the Olympics in the South.

"There are high expectations, but I think it is a bit rushed," Moon told reporters in Pyeongchang during his visit to the Main Press Center (MPC) on Saturday after being asked about a possible summit with North Korea. "It's like the Korean saying, seeking hot water from a well," he added. The saying refers to rushing into something without fully thinking about the process and results.

His remarks hint that he would not rush the matter despite the fact that the expectations of an inter-Korean summit has been rapidly heightened since his meeting with the North Korean high-ranking delegation. At present, both domestic and foreign media are predicting the time for the summit talks between the two Koreas. There is also speculation that a special envoy to North Korea will be soon dispatched to respond to Kim Jong-un's message.

Some analysts say that Moon's remark reflects the reality that South Korea should consult in advance with its traditional ally the US, which insists that Pyongyang must take concrete steps towards denuclearization before any talks can begin. In fact, Moon told reporters Sunday, "The general consensus on the need for dialogue between the US and North Korea is gradually increasing." He also said that the government is "waiting for the current inter-Korean talks to lead to dialogue between the US and North Korea, and to denuclearization."

President Moon said earlier that the right condition was to be created by the two Koreas for the proposed summit, expressing his willingness to bring the US, which is another party to the North Korean issue, to the dialogue table with the North. A key official of the presidential Blue House said that the "condition" means that the atmosphere and environment surrounding the Korean peninsula should be co-accomplished in order to achieve more meaningful and fruitful results (involving Pyongyang visit and the inter-Korean summit). "An early dialogue between the US and North Korea is necessary for the development of inter-Korean relations."

The fact that the US is suggesting that it is ready to engage in talks with the North is also providing a backdrop for Moon's cautious policy. "My job as chief diplomat is to ensure that the North Koreans know, we keep our channels open," US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Saturday. "I am listening for you to tell me you are ready to talk," he added. US Vice President Mike Pence also said earlier that the US is willing to talk if the North wants it. He delivered the remarks during his return trip from the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

An official at the Blue House said, "President Moon said it's the 'miraculously earned opportunity', and now the government is being very careful so as not to lose such miraculous opportunity."

#Moon Jae-in #inter-Korean summit #Pyongyang #South Korea #US 
Copyright by Asiatoday