South Korea Presents Powerful Submarine Amidst Détente

Hannah Rogers
September 17, 2018

As first steps, North and South Korea will open a joint liaison office on the North's side of the militarised border on Friday to serve as a de facto embassy. And it said North Korea is violating sanctions by transferring coal at sea and flouting an arms embargo and financial sanctions.

It represented a "leap forward in the country's" defence industry, South Korean President Moon Jae-in told the audience at a launch ceremony at the Daewoo shipyard where it was designed and built. "On Monday, the White House announced that, in response to the "very warm, very positive" note from Kim, Trump was now ordering his staff to plan for a second Trump-Kim summit meeting".

Moon will discuss ways to achieve that goal with Kim, seeking to engineer a proposal that combines a concrete framework for North Korea's denuclearisation and a joint declaration ending the 1950-53 Korean War, Seoul officials said.

Both sides would be able used the facility to hold "open-minded discussions on issues raised in inter-Korean relations as soon as possible and come up with necessary solutions", he added. "They are the ones that have to take the steps to denuclearize and that is what we are waiting for".

Army Col. Cho Yong-geun led South Korea's three-member delegation, while the North's side was led by Col. Om Chang-nam.

South Korea suspended operations at the complex in 2016 after North Korea carried out its fourth nuclear test.

The wave of optimism that surrounded the first two inter-Korean summits in April and May and the Singapore meeting between Trump and Kim in June conveniently overlooked disagreements about what exactly Kim had committed to.

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Seoul, Sep 14 South Korea launched its first ever missile-capable attack submarine on Friday, despite a recent diplomatic thaw with the nuclear-armed North.

Both Koreas are calling for a declaration by the end of the year, but the US wants to see more concrete steps toward denuclearization first, and some analysts say a declaration could put pressure on the withdraw its troops from South Korea.

The neighbours are also discussing reconnecting railways and roads, and lessening guard posts along the heavily militarised border. The late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il invited South Korean president Kim Dae-jung to Pyongyang in 2000 and Roh Moo-hyun in 2007.

But Moon's desire to advance ties with the North despite little progress on denuclearisation has raised alarm bells in Washington, with USA officials worrying it could weaken Pyongyang's resolve to disarm.

The resumption of the Kaesong park and other dormant inter-Korean cooperation projects aren't likely to happen anytime soon because US-led global sanctions on North Korea remain in place.

Russian Federation and China have suggested the Security Council discuss easing sanctions after the Trump-Kim summit, while Washington and other council members have said there must be strict enforcement of sanctions until Pyongyang acts.

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