Saturday, 20 October, 2018

North Korea's Summit Offer Could Test US-South Korea's United Nuclear Front

Members of North Korea's military taking part in a parade in Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang AFP Getty Images
Kenny Thornton | 12 February, 2018, 08:28

Kim extended the rare invitation to the South Korean leader through his closest confidante: his only sister Kim Yo Jong, who was visiting the South as part of the North Korean delegation to the Winter Olympics, according to South Korea's presidential office on Saturday.

Kim Yo Jong, the North Korean leader's younger sister, and the other North Korean delegates, led by the 90-year-old head of state Kim Yong Nam, were feted at a lunch with South Korea's prime minister on Sunday before sitting next to South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the concert by North Korea's Samjiyon Orchestra in Gangneung, a city that is co-hosting the Olympics.

Kim Yo-jong carried a bright blue folder as she entered the conference room at the Blue House, Seoul's presidential office, and some analysts speculated it could contain a letter from her brother.

"We will fully cooperate with global efforts regarding sanctions against North Korea based on our stance for a denuclearised Korean peninsula and a peaceful solution (to the North Korea nuclear issue)", the statement said. It was the only documentation on the table on the North Korean side.

Such a meeting, if it came about, would mark the first inter-Korea summit since 2007.

The US has been cautious about the invitation, with vice president Mike Pence also in South Korea to warn the country against "falling for" the North's overtures.

He also insisted that Washington was on the same page with its allies, saying "there is no daylight between the United States, the Republic of Korea, and Japan on the need to continue to isolate North Korea economically and diplomatically until they abandon their nuclear ballistic missile program".

NBC apologizes to South Korea for analyst's remark
Japan's 35-year colonisation of Korea, between 1910 and 1945, was marked by harsh rule and human rights abuse. Another asked if NBC would thank Japan for the attacks on Pearl Harbour.

Kim Yo Jong is the first member of her family to set foot in this country since the north and south were divided and her grandfather, Kim Il Sung, founded North Korea.

It was already known that Kim Yo Jong is an adviser to her brother; now many are interpreting her presence here - and the freedom with which she seems to behave - as new signs of the power she holds.

"The inter-Korean relations should be mended by the parties concerned at any cost", Moon was quoted by the agency as adding.

Kim Yong Nam, the North's nominal head of state who was also at Saturday's meeting, said "even unexpected difficulties and ordeals could be surely overcome and the future of reunification brought earlier when having a firm will and taking courage and determination to usher in a new heyday of inter-Korean relations". It was a sharp, but possibly fleeting, contrast with many months of rising tensions connected to the North's continued development of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.

Major protests have erupted in South Korea as activists burn the North's flag.

Pence left South Korea Saturday night, flying out of Pyeongchang after attending a short-track speedskating event with Moon - who then went to watch ice hockey along with Kim and the North Korean delegation. The U.S. -led global community has been tightening the screws on North Korea with sanctions created to punish its economy and rein in its efforts to expand its nuclear weapons and missile program, which now includes developmental long-range missiles targeting the U.S. mainland.

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