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    Apr
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    Apr
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    2018
    South Korea (and the US) wants the North to power down its nukes
    South Korea (and the US) wants the North to power down its nukes
    POLITICS

    South Korea (and the US) wants the North to power down its nukes

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    by
    Lee Jeong-ho
    Lee Jeong-ho
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    South Korea has laid out its demands ahead of a historic summit with North Korea next week.

    Seoul wants Pyongyang to halt its nuclear program, disclose its nuclear capacity and allow inspectors in in exchange for a range of concessions, according to Moon Chung-in, a special advisor to the South Korean president.

    The US, South Korea’s main ally, is also likely to offer incentives, Moon told the South China Morning Post in Seoul on Tuesday.

    Group 5
    The incentives by the US, as well as other countries in the world, will be quite hefty
    -
    Moon Chung-in, special advisor to the South Korean president
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    “As long as Pyongyang’s denuclearization commitment is verifiable, incentives may be provided in various forms including military, political and diplomatic assurances to the regime,” he said.

    “If North Korea is willing to denuclearize in a complete and a verifiable way, then the incentives by the US, as well as other countries in the world, will be quite hefty.”

    South Korean President Moon Jae-in will meet his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong-un at the demilitarized zone between the countries on April 27. According to the advisor, the South Korean president may pursue an official peace agreement after the talks.

    South Korea's President Moon Jae-in and Donald Trump are both expected to hold talks with Kim Jong-un.
    South Korea's President Moon Jae-in and Donald Trump are both expected to hold talks with Kim Jong-un. Photo: AFP

    The Korean War ended in 1953 after an armistice was signed, but no formal peace agreement was ever made. That means the peninsula is technically still at war.

    Speaking at the Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida during a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, President Donald Trump said he supported a peace deal.

    “They are discussing an end to the war,” Trump told reporters on Tuesday. “Subject to a deal, they would certainly have my blessing, and they do have my blessing to discuss that.”

    US media reported that Trump dispatched secretary of state nominee and CIA director Mike Pompeo to North Korea earlier this month to prepare for a possible summit with Kim. It would be the first such meeting between the leaders of the two countries.

    The leaders of North and South Korea will meet at the demilitarized zone between the countries.
    The leaders of North and South Korea will meet at the demilitarized zone between the countries. Photo: AFP

    Tensions on the Korean Peninsula escalated throughout last year as Pyongyang conducted dozens of missile tests, as well as its largest nuclear test to date. In November, it tested a new missile capable of hitting the US mainland.

    The tests have prompted the UN Security Council to impose tougher economic sanctions on North Korea, with the support from Pyongyang’s main allies China and Russia. North Korea called the sanctions “an act of war.”

    However, the crisis showed signs of easing in February when South and North Koreans marched under a unified flag at the Winter Olympics held in South Korea. And in another surprise turn, Washington announced in March that Kim had invited Trump for a meeting – and Trump accepted.

    North Korean cheerleaders hold flags of Korean unification at the 2018 Winter Olympics held in South Korea.
    North Korean cheerleaders hold flags of Korean unification at the 2018 Winter Olympics held in South Korea. Photo: Reuters

    Less than three weeks after the news broke, Kim visited Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on the North Korean leader’s first known overseas trip since taking power in 2011.

    And Xi is planning to visit North Korea in June for a meeting with Kim, Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun reported on Monday, citing sources in China and North Korea. 

    Kim visited Xi in Beijing weeks after he proposed a meeting with Trump.
    Kim visited Xi in Beijing weeks after he proposed a meeting with Trump. Photo: AFP/KCNA via KNS

    Analysts say this show of alliance could strengthen Kim’s position at the negotiating table with Trump, who is expected to push for the permanent denuclearization of North Korea. Trump has credited himself for recent peace overtures.

    “Without us and without me in particular, I guess, you would have to say, that they wouldn’t be discussing anything, including the Olympics would have been a failure,” Trump said on Tuesday. “Instead, it was a great success. They would have had a real problem.”

    Two past deals between Pyongyang and Washington for North Korea to suspend its nuclear weapons program, struck in 1994 and then 2012, both subsequently fell apart.

    LEE JEONG-HO
    LEE JEONG-HO
    Jeong-ho is a contributor to Inkstone. He covers China's diplomacy, East Asian security and defense for the South China Morning Post.

    LEE JEONG-HO
    LEE JEONG-HO
    Jeong-ho is a contributor to Inkstone. He covers China's diplomacy, East Asian security and defense for the South China Morning Post.

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