South Korea 'reevaluates' opening of inter-Korean liaison office

Hannah Rogers
August 28, 2018

North Korea's state-controlled newspaper accused the US of "double-dealing" on Sunday after Washington canceled a planned visit by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, as negotiations over the pariah state's nuclear arsenal continue to stall. These have come at a time of rapprochement between the two sides.

North Korea did not immediately react to the announcement. But South Korea allows and even quietly helps finance back-channel contacts among separated families on humanitarian grounds. Privately, several officials told me they consider the entire North Korea diplomatic engagement a low-probability effort because they doubt Kim Jong Un has actually made the decision to denuclearize.

"The United States has once again stressed its commitment to the full and verified denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula".

South Korea expects China to continue serving a "constructive role" in worldwide efforts to solve the nuclear crisis and noted that Beijing continues to express commitment to fully implement sanctions against the North, the ministry said. "We are seriously concerned about this", Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said in the statement.

Trump put some blame on Beijing, saying he does not believe China is helping "because of our much tougher Trading stance".

Trump has also blamed China for hindering the progress with North Korea and accused it of not putting enough pressure on Pyongyang, due to the ongoing trade spat between Washington and Beijing. Privately, Trump and Kim Jong Un have been exchanging a series of letters, some couriered by Pompeo himself.

No information was provided on how this is expected to be pulled off given that the country has an underdeveloped conference tourism industry and the fact that some countries such as the United States have banned their citizens from traveling to North Korea except in special circumstances.

Moon is committed to securing diplomatic progress with North Korea, in part by opening this year the office in Kaesong, on the North Korea side of the border.

Trump explained why he met with the President of Russian Federation
Before leaving for North Korea, Lee said she wanted to ask her son "how he grew up without his mom and how his father raised him". Threat of a USA preventative attack is gone in the absence of further North Korean missile or bomb testing.

But Chung Min Lee, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, said China is not responsible for the impasse between the United States and North Korea.

The inter-Korean summit slated for September remains on track, and President Moon's role as mediator between the USA and North Korea appears to have expanded after the cancelled visit, Blue House's Kim told reporters on Sunday.

The UN's nuclear agency (IAEA) has also said North Korea is continuing with its nuclear programme.

Kim Kyung-jae probably won't be chosen in the government lottery that would allow him to reunite one last time with his relatives in North Korea.

"It's hard, what Trump is trying to do, " Lee said. China continues to respond by leveling tariffs against America and continues to trade with North Korea.

When he wants to give his relatives clothes, shoes and other items, he uses brokers in China to send them by parcel post after paying them 200 yuan ($30) for each 20-kilogram (44-pound) box.

"No significant dismantlement activity has taken place at either the engine test stand or the launch pad" of the Sohae Satellite Launching Station since August 3, according to 38 North, a monitoring website.

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