See More on Facebook

Diplomacy

-UPDATE- Kim meets Moon in Pyongyang

The North Korean leader says he expects progress at next summit with Trump and agrees to denuclearisation of Korean peninsula.


Written by

Updated: September 19, 2018

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Wednesday pledged to visit Seoul and reaffirmed commitment to giving up his country’s nuclear program, vowing to take additional steps for denuclearization, with conditions.

The Pyongyang Joint Declaration of September 2018 signed by the two leaders after their second round of summit talks at Paekhwawon Guest House stated that North Korea would permanently dismantle its missile engine test site and missile launch pad in Dongchangri under the observation of experts from related countries.

National Intelligence Service chief Suh Hoon from the South and the Vice Chairman of North Korea‘s ruling Workers’ Party Kim Yong-chul were in attendance at Wednesday‘s closed door meeting.

The declaration also stated that the North is willing to take additional steps, such as permanent dismantling of the Yongbyun nuclear facility, if the US takes reciprocal measures in the spirit of the June 12 declaration between the US and North Korea.

The two leaders vowed to continue working with the US and the international community to rid the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons.

Noting that Moon will meet with US President Donald Trump Monday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Yoon Young-chan, Blue House secretary for public communication, said that the South Korean leader will work closely with the US for subsequent steps in the denuclearization process

Trump welcomed the results in a Twitter message, noting that Kim has agreed to allow “nuclear inspections, subject to final negotiations, and to permanently dismantle a test site and launch pad in the presence of international experts.” It is unclear, however, what Trump meant by “nuclear inspection” as the term was not included in the Pyongyang Declaration.

One of South Korea’s main goals entering the summit had been to spur the stalled denuclearization talks between Washington and Pyongyang.

“We believe that the talks between North Korea and the US could be accelerated based on the results of this summit, and we also hope that the talks will be held as soon as possible,” said National Security Office chief Chung Eui-yong. He added that a North Korean leader publicly expressing his intent to permanently dismantle a symbolic facility like Yongbyun has a significant meaning.

In addition, South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo and his counterpart No Kwang-chul signed a military agreement that centers on preventing border conflicts. South Korean presidential office called it “a de facto non-aggression pact,” which includes establising a buffer zone and a no-fly zone in the Demilitarized Zone.

“We’ve adopted a military agreement to end the decades of desperate, tragic history of hostility (between the Koreas), and pledged to make Joseon (Korean) peninsula a land of peace without nuclear weapons or nuclear threats,” said North Korea’s Kim after signing the Pyongyang Declaration.

He went on to say that he had pledged to visit Seoul “in the near future.” Moon elaborated by saying that this would take place within the year, barring unforeseen developments.

No North Korean leader has ever visited Seoul, though there had been talk of a visit by Kim’s father, former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, in 2000.

The two sides also agreed to make a joint bid for the 2032 Summer Games, along with joint participation in international sporting events.

The Pyongyang Declaration also includes a Pyongyang art troupe’s performance in Seoul in October.

South and North Korea pledged to work on measures for “balanced development” of the economies, namely stepping up cross-border exchanges and economic cooperation.

They agreed to kick off joint projects to connect railways and roads across the border within the year, to resume Kumgangsan tours and to reopen the Kaesong industrial park, under the “right conditions,” mindful of economic sanctions in place against North Korea for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

The Park Geun-hye administration shut down the Kaesong complex in the North Korean border town of Kaesong in February 2016, as a punitive action against Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile provocations. The Kumgangsan tours were suspended in 2008 after a South Korean tourist was killed by a North Korean soldier.

Humanitarian efforts for families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War were also included in the statement, with the Koreas agreeing to open a permanent facility on Kumgangsan for family reunions in the near future. Other measures include holding video-based reunions and the exchange of video messages between separated family members.

Among other agreements included in the Pyongyang Declaration are: working to create special economic zones; cross-border cooperation for preservation of the natural habitat in the North; and cooperation in the medical field for prevention and containment of infectious diseases.

Kim credited Moon for improving inter-Korea and Washington-Pyongyang relations.

“President Moon has ignited the spark of the historic talks between Joseon (North Korea) and the US. It is no exaggeration to say that the Joseon-US meeting is all thanks to President Moon. We are expecting a stabilization of the region and more progress (in the summit),” said Kim.

Moon thanked Kim, his wife Ri Sol-ju and the citizens of Pyongyang for the warm welcome.

“Spring in Panmunjom has led to the autumn in Pyongyang. We met three times in the past five months. And looking back, there was the PyeongChang Winter Games; before that, Chairman Kim’s New Year speech and his bold decision. The entire process was possible through Kim’s resolve, and I’d like to express my gratitude for that resolve to begin a new era,” he said.

Following the summit, the South Korean first couple attended the Samjiyeon Orchestra’s performance at the Pyongyang Grand Theater, after which they and the entire entourage attended a reception dinner at Mokran House. The first couple are staying at Paekhwawon State Guest House, which is typically reserved for only the highest VIPs.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


The Korea Herald
About the Author: The Korea Herald is the nation’s largest English-language daily and the country’s sole member of the Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Diplomacy

Two Canadians under investigation

China confirms that two Canadian are under investigation for endangering national security. Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang confirmed on Thursday that compulsory measures have been taken on two Canadian nationals, in accordance with Chinese laws. The Canadians are suspected of engaging in activities endangering national security and the two cases are now under investigation, he told a press conference in Beijing. The Canadian embassy was informed of the cases without delay after necessary procedures were performed, he said, continuing that the legitimate rights and interests of the two Canadians are safeguarded.


By China Daily
December 14, 2018

Diplomacy

Google Korea under tax probe

Critics say it may signal a widening crackdown on foreign tech firms. South Korea’s tax agency has launched an investigation into the local branch of US technology giant Google over allegations of tax evasion on the part of some local YouTubers, a move that signals stepped up government efforts to crack down on foreign tech firms long accused of taking a free ride on lax regulations. The National Tax Service on Wednesday sent its auditors and investigators to the headquarters of Google Korea in Seoul to secure the company’s financial and accounting records. The NTS has not disclosed the exact cause for the probe, but the investigation is rumored to be centered on suspicions that well-known YouTubers have dodged taxes by not fully reporting income generated by activities on YouTube. Both the Korean tax agency and Google Korea have declined to comment on the issue.


By The Korea Herald
December 14, 2018

Diplomacy

S. Korea joins nonbinding migration pact

Migration has a major talking point in Geneva as the UN moves towards a consensus. South Korea joined 163 UN member states in signing a nonbinding migration pact aimed at better handling the rising flow of migrants worldwide, despite growing anti-immigrant sentiment at home. The Global Compact for Migration was formally approved by 164 countries at a two-day conference in Marrakesh, Morocco. It is the first international accord on managing migration. The pact is not legally binding, and signing it would not immediately result in changes in South Korea’s immigration and refugee policies, according to the Foreign Ministry. “The compact is not legally binding, and the document precisely stipulates that each nation has sovereignty over immigration policies,“ the official said on condition of anonymity. “When we formulate our refugee and immigration policies, we could reflect some of th


By The Korea Herald
December 13, 2018

Diplomacy

Reuters reporter mark one year behind bars in Myanmar

Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, have spent the past year behind bars in Myanmar for reporting on the massacre of Rohingya refugees. There is not much to be said here except go read the report, sign a petition, demand their release. The Reuters report can be found here. 


By Cod Satrusayang
December 13, 2018

Diplomacy

US sanctions N. Korea over human rights

North Korea condemns the US’ decision to impose sanctions on its high-ranking officials for human rights abuse. The US on Monday imposed sanctions on three senior North Korean officials for human rights abuses, amid Pyongyang’s continued silence in its denuclearization talks with Washington. The US Treasury Department announced the sanctions on Choe Ryong-hae, vice chairman of the ruling Workers’ Party; Jong Kyong-thaek, minister of state security; and Pak Kwang-ho, director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department. The Treasury Department cited “brutal” human rights abuses and censorship as well as the death of American college student Otto Warmbier, who died in June 2017 shortly after he was released from captivity in North Korea, as the reasons behind the sanctions. The sanctions seize assets the officials may have in the US and ban any US entity from financial transactions with th


By The Korea Herald
December 12, 2018

Diplomacy

Ghosn charged with falsifying reports

Ghosn and an associated remain in jail on charges of tax avoidance and falsifying reports. Carlos Ghosn, former chairman of Nissan Motor Co., his aide Greg Kelly, former representative director of Nissan, and the automaker itself were charged on Monday with falsifying the firm’s securities reports. Also on Monday, Ghosn, 64, and Kelly, 62, were rearrested by the special investigation squad of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office on suspicion of underreporting more of Ghosn’s income. Ghosn and Kelly were initially arrested on Nov. 19 on suspicion of violating the law by allegedly conspiring to underreport Ghosn’s executive remuneration in the company’s securities reports by a total of about ¥5 billion from the business year ending March 2011 to that ending March 2015. Prosecutors believe the actual amount of his pay was about ¥10 billion. The pair denied the allegations during qu


By The Japan News
December 11, 2018