How to negotiate with North Korea

by Garry Watts April 26, 2018, 6:45
How to negotiate with North Korea

Days ahead of a planned summit meeting between the leaders of long-time adversaries North and South Korea, observers are mixed on whether a commitment by the North to fully dismantling its nuclear weapons program should be a prerequisite to a negotiations on a formal end to the Korean War.

The venue - at the "Truce Village" of Panmunjom where the armistice was signed - is only one change from the previous inter-Korean summits in 2000 and 2007 that were held in Pyongyang.

"The past summits were highly symbolic with their agreements poorly executed".

"I believe North Korea is clearly signalling a willingness to dismantle its nuclear programme and open up to the worldwide community".

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-hwa seemed to indicate that Seoul won't raise at the summit what the United Nations says is Kim's pattern of starving and abusing his people, despite being pressed by activists to do so, when she told reporters that to "include the (human rights) issue in the inter-Korean dialogue now is something that will require more preparation". From the Japanese perspective, any US-North Korea agreement must address the threat to the region posed by North Korea's short- and medium-range missiles.

"We are in a different world now".

What's more, McMaster's aides claimed the widespread reports that he was specifically pushing for a so-called "bloody nose" strike against North Korea were false. "The stakes are much higher for everyone now", says Kim Tae-woo, former head of the Korea Institute for National Unification. During a three-day visit to Pyongyang, he and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il agreed to move towards a permanent peace on the Korean peninsula, promote reunification and expand humanitarian and economic exchanges.

When Kim Jong Un crosses the border dividing the two Koreas to shake hands with southern counterpart Moon Jae-in on Friday, his footsteps will be laden with symbolism. However, the achievement was later tarnished by the revelations that Seoul paid $500 million to Pyongyang to secure the meeting.

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This mindset could make it hard for Moon - keen on creating a legacy-defining moment that will set up Kim's summit with President Donald Trump in the coming weeks - to resist whatever media controls the North demands.

That is according to remarks from an unnamed South Korean presidential official quoted by Reuters.

Relations between the two Koreas and Japan have always been strained by territorial disputes and lingering resentment over Japanese colonisation of the Korean peninsula in the first half of last century.

Pyongyang started nuclear blast experiments in 2006.

As global developments of recent years clearly show, agreements that call for nations to scrap their weapons of mass destruction are tempting for USA leaders to cut but very hard to verify in their implementation.

The North's leader ordered the formation of a special train that could carry those who were killed and wounded in a recent traffic accident to China in a "responsible" manner, according to the Korean Central News Agency. He later voiced concern the administration was considering military action against North Korea.

In two new dispatches on Thursday morning, the North's state-run KCNA news agency said Kim went to Pyongyang's station on Wednesday evening "to see off a special objective train carrying the bodies of Chinese who were killed and the wounded in a tragic traffic accident".

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