See More on Facebook

Diplomacy

What’s next for S. Korea after Trump-Kim meeting?

The recent meeting between Trump and Kim may restart diplomacy.


Written by

Updated: July 2, 2019

With US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreeing to return to the negotiating table, South Korea’s behind-the-scenes diplomacy is expected to continue to ensure that the nuclear talks get back on track.

Breaking a four-month stalemate was a near-impromptu meeting in the truce village of Panmunjom, inside the Demilitarized Zone that separates the two Koreas on Sunday, which came after Trump tweeted an invitation to Kim on Saturday from Japan where he was attending the G-20 summit.

After a nearly one-hour meeting with Kim, Trump said both sides will set up teams to revive the negotiations to dismantle North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

Trump, who exchanged “beautiful” personal letters with Kim earlier this month, credited the “special personal chemistry and friendship” between the two leaders for jumpstarting the Washington-Pyongyang nuclear diplomacy.

“Now the leaders of the US and North Korea can exchange letters and meet at any time they want. In this new era, there is no need for mediators or facilitators for their talks,” said Koh Yu-hwan, a professor at Dongguk University in Seoul.

President Moon Jae-in, who accompanied Trump’s visit to the border Sunday, had played a role of mediator when Pyongyang and Washington negotiations appeared on the verge of collapse before their first summit in Singapore in June 2018. Trump canceled the meeting but reinstated it after Moon held emergency talks with Kim at Panmunjom.

However, Moon’s diplomacy faced an uphill battle, damaged by the discord between the US and North Korea after their second summit in Hanoi, Vietnam, in February failed to bridge the differences on denuclearization and sanctions relief.

“It is time for Trump and Kim to make up their minds. What Seoul can do now is closely coordinate with Washington to share ideas and draw up a denuclearization roadmap,” Koh said.

Seoul could offer diplomatic assistance through behind-the-scenes talks with the US on issues such as establishing the range of North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction that Trump demanded be eliminated at the Hanoi summit.

The dismantling of its main nuclear complex in Yongbyon would mean the “start of an irreversible stage toward complete denuclearization,” President Moon said during a joint press conference with Trump Sunday after their summit.

With such a move, the international community will be able to discuss easing sanctions, he said.

Nuclear negotiations will proceeded smoothly with the presence of the starting point of irreversible denuclearization, said Hong Min, a research fellow at the Korea Institute for National Unification.

“It is becoming crucial to deliver a silver bullet through full coordination with Washington in invisible ways so that the two sides (the US and North Korea) can take a flexible approach,” he said.

Once the two countries achieve substantive progress in their denuclearization negotiations, the South and China could join in resolving the issues concerning regime security for the North, such as signing of a declaration ending the 1950-53 Korean War and a peace treaty.

“North Korea’s denuclearization and a permanent peace regime on the Korean Peninsula will be achieved when South Korea, North Korea, US and China complete such talks. Russia, Japan and the European countries could also participate when issues involving the North’s economic reconstruction start being addressed,” Koh said.



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

North Korea beefs up self-defense capabilities in military reorganization

The North have been making many changes ahead of talks. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un presided over a meeting of the top military decision-making body to accelerate the development of self-defense capabilities ahead of key events that will decide its national strategy, its state media reported Sunday. Discussions on ways to bolster its military capabilities through organizational restructuring and personnel reshuffle were highlighted during the third expanded meeting of the seventh central military commission of the ruling Workers’ Party. Details on what measures were discussed were not disclosed. “At the meeting, Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un


By The Korea Herald
December 23, 2019

Diplomacy

China-US trade deal bullish news for both countries, rest of world

From Chinese state media. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Saturday that the China-US deal on the text of a phase-one economic and trade agreement serves as bullish news for both countries and the rest of the world. Speaking at a joint press conference with Slovenian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Miro Cerar, Wang said China has, as always, been opposed to settling economic and trade disputes by imposing tariffs as there is no winner in a trade war. China has also rejected the use of unilateral pressure as it violates the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO), said Wang. He pointed out that following rounds of back-and-forth negotiations, China and the United States have agreed on the wording of a phase-one economic and trade agreement, and the US side has promised to phase out additional tariffs on Chinese products. The agreement demonstrates the spirit


By China Daily
December 16, 2019

Diplomacy

Biegun arrives in Seoul amid deadlock in NK-US nuclear talks

Pyongyang says it conducted “another crucial test” at Sohae site. US Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun arrived in Seoul on Sunday for a “close coordination” with allies amid the deadlock in the denuclearization talks with Pyongyang just weeks before the communist regime’s year-end deadline. A day before, North Korea issued statements to announce that it had carried out “another crucial test” at a satellite launching site, warning the United States to “hold off” any action to “rattle” the regime. During his three-day trip here, the US special envoy is expected to meet with officials here to discuss on the


By The Korea Herald
December 16, 2019

Diplomacy

Myanmar to be sincere in implementing Rohingya repatriation deal

This according to the Bangladeshi Foreign Minister. Bangladesh expects that Myanmar would be more tolerant towards Rohingyas after facing trial at the International Court of Justice, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said today. “My expectation is that Myanmar would be sincere in implementing the bilateral deal that signed with Bangladesh on repatriating Rohingyas from Bangladesh,” he told journalists at his ministry office in Dhaka. “Myanmar has invited me before a case lodged with the International Court of Justice. In response, I told that I would go there when the Rohingyas will go back to Myanmar,” the foreign minister said. “I also invited Myanmar to visit Bangladesh to talk to their Rohingya people and to understand their expectations,” Momen said. Globally it has been established that there was a massive crime committed against the Rohingyas, that was des


By Daily Star
December 16, 2019

Diplomacy

10 US senators criticise Suu Kyi for representing military’s interest

Suu Kyi is in the Hague defending Myanmar from genocide accusations. Ten US Senators have severely criticized Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi for representing the military’s interest before the International Court of Justice and defending the mass atrocities committed against the Rohingyas and other ethnic minorities. “Representing the Burmese military’s interest before The Hague and defending the mass atrocities committed against the Rohingya and other ethnic minorities would undermine what remaining credibility you have before the international community, including in the US Congress,” said a letter to Suu Kyi issued on December 9. The Senators said a defense of the Burmese military at this high-profile international forum is also an affront to the inclusive, multi-cultural and democratic Burma that she claims to champion. They said when Buddhist nationalism is on the rise in


By Daily Star
December 13, 2019

Diplomacy

India under Modi is moving systematically with a supremacist agenda, says PM Imran

Imran Khan made the comments after India passed a controversial citizenship requirement. Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Thursday that India, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been moving systematically with a Hindu supremacist agenda. The prime minister was referencing the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill passed by India’s upper house amid protests on Wednesday. The bill will let the Indian government grant citizenship to millions of illegal immigrants who entered India from three neighbouring countries before 2015 — but not if they are Muslim. Modi’s government — re-elected in May and under pressure over a slowing economy — says Muslims from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan are excluded from the legislation because they do not face discrimination in those countries. Taking to Twitter, Prime Minister I


By Dawn
December 13, 2019