Korean leaders meet in Pyongyang

Hannah Rogers
September 20, 2018

But U.S. officials remain "unenthusiastic" about declaring an end to the war without any substantial action toward denuclearization from the North, Seoul officials said.

North Korea has long maintained that its nuclear program is aimed at coping with what it calls US military threats. But he said he still expects the summit to produce meaningful agreements.

North Korean soldiers and naval troops quick-marched into position to welcome Mr Moon, and the two leaders inspected the honour guard.

The leaders are both pushing a reluctant Washington to sign off on formally ending the war with a peace treaty.

Established a joint Korean liaison office just over the border in North Korea in the city of Kaesong.

Their meeting will also mark the fifth inter-Korean summit ever held. The complex is still closed, though Moon has expressed a desire to reopen it.

The South Korean presidential office on Monday announced that the two leaders would discuss three topics at this week's summit: the improvement of inter-Korean relations, mediation and facilitation of the DPRK-U.S. nuclear negotiations, and the elimination of military tension and the threat of the war.

The dovish South Korean president is looking to tie the inter-Korean process and the US-Northern talks closer together to reduce the threat of a devastating conflict on the peninsula.

What's the significance of the summit?

But Thae Yong Ho, a former North Korean diplomat who defected to the South in 2016, warned on his blog last week that North Korea has consistently maintained until now that an end-of-war declaration would put an end to the armistice and dissolve the U.N. Command.

Perhaps more immediately, and possibly more crucially, Moon may need to ultimately convince Trump to give South Korea some breathing room to operate independently, said Aidan Foster-Carter, a North Korea specialist and honorary senior research fellow at Leeds University. And what part will U.S. President Donald Trump play? Another possible area of agreement could be on a formal statement on ending the Korean War, which was halted in 1953 by what was meant to be a temporary armistice.

Talks between the United States and North Korea have stalled since Kim's meeting with Trump in Singapore in June. Currently, however, all major joint projects between the Koreas are stalled because of US -led sanctions.

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Both Koreas likely have an ally in Beijing, which has always been wary of the U.S.

Agreeing on a timetable is a core task for Moon, as it would induce US action, said Lee Jung-chul, a professor at Soongsil University in Seoul.

Kim's father, the late Kim Jong Il, hosted two different South Korean presidents for summit sessions at the capital in 2000 and 2007.

Trump delayed a visit to North Korea by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in August, "because I feel we are not making sufficient progress with respect to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula", Trump tweeted.

Kim has since suggested a second summit with Trump, with the White House saying they are working on setting a date.

But Trump has also reportedly expressed deep skepticism of the USA military presence in South Korea. North Korea fired several missiles over Japan previous year. -South Korean alliance and the presence in the South of US troops and their high-tech, high-powered technology and weapons.

A national defense analyst warns that North Korea isn't the only country America needs to be wary of on the Korean peninsula.

China also is supportive of a "certain amount of reconciliation" between the two Koreas, Lee said.

Both China and Russian Federation backed United Nations sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear program, though both countries would benefit from projects like updating and expanding North Korea's railway system, Lee said. "They should be free to pursue this as this would be good for building peace". "I hope we can show a result of peace and prosperity to people around the world".

He said if that happens, coupled with a potential midterm election defeat for U.S. Republicans, "that would be disastrous".

South Koreans appetite for unification has fallen as the differences between the two countries grow and the expected costs of reunification rise. The North has repeatedly used this ideology to back its demand that the South split from its alliance with the United States.

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