Korean Summit: The pomp, the substance and what it means

Moon said he will carry a private message from Kim for Trump when he meets the USA president in NY next week at a United Nations meeting.

"We have agreed to make the Korean Peninsula a land of peace that is free from nuclear weapons and nuclear threat", Kim said as he stood by Moon's side at the guesthouse where Moon is staying.

SEOUL/PYONGYANG ― South Korean President Moon Jae-in called on "all Koreans" to take a big step toward reunification of the Korean Peninsula late Wednesday in the first-ever speech by a South head of state in Pyongyang.

Kim also wants a second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump as soon as possible.

"I hope the mushrooms, with the scent of North Korea intact, may offer some condolence", Moon was quoted as saying.

But it left open a burning question: Will the concessions North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is offering be enough to persuade the U.S.to meet any of his demands?

"State media and ideological indoctrination was setting the stage" for Kim Jong Il's power succession that took place in 1980, said Michael Madden, a North Korea leadership expert at the Stimson Centre's 38 North in Washington.

"We absolutely can not let this hard to come by opportunity for peace slip away once again", the Chinese government's top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, said in a statement. The North's satellite launches are regarded with deep suspicion by the USA and are prohibited under U.N. Security Council resolutions because the same technology might be used for missiles.

Moon said on Thursday that Kim would visit Seoul around November, no later than the end of the year.

Such a declaration would be the first step toward a formal peace treaty, but the U.S.is anxious that it could result in Kim pushing for the removal of USA troops from South Korea.

It was the first time a South Korean head of state ever addressed North Korean citizens directly.


Moon's office says North Korean workers made a mistake. Their trip to the mountain on the North Korean-Chinese border, and the striking photo-op that will resonate in both Koreas, followed a day of wide-ranging agreements they trumpeted as a major step toward peace.

The two countries also agreed to engage "in constant communication and close consultations" to review the implementation of the previously signed Panmunjom Declaration "and prevent accidental military clashes by promptly activating the Inter-Korean Joint Military Committee". There will also be resistance to rolling back sanctions adopted by the US unilaterally and through the United Nations without significant progress toward denuclearization and a clearer idea of exactly what North Korea has in its nuclear arsenal and where all its facilities are located.

'That's what we're talking about right now, ' the official said, adding that 'talking to foreign leaders is better than not talking with foreign leaders, and the president has been firm with everybody on this'.

Mr. Trump noted other gains, including North Korea releasing American prisoners, returning remains of USA soldiers from the Korean War and stopping its nuclear and missile tests.

The promises were made on the second day of a visit to Pyongyang by President Moon of South Korea.

"We're talking about a package that would carry many elements, including the declaration of the facilities, Yongbyon and Tongchang-ri, which are of United States interest, and from the North side, the issues of normalising relations, ending the war and easing sanctions".

Members of Trump's administration are concerned that such a declaration could be used to undermine the justification for the presence of USA forces in South Korea. "It's very much calmed down", Trump told reporters outside the White House.

But discussions over how to implement the vague commitments have since faltered and North Korea has consistently refused to give up its nuclear arsenal unilaterally.

While North Korea has stopped nuclear and missile tests in the past year, it did not allow global inspections of its dismantling of its Punggye-ri nuclear test site in May, drawing criticism that its action was for show and could be reversed.

The US has also invited North Korean representatives to meet the US Special Representative for North Korea in Vienna at the "earliest opportunity", Mr Pompeo said.

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