Cozying up to Kim over dreams of a new Korea

Glen Norman
September 20, 2018

Prior to the leaders' summit, Moon's wife, Kim Jung-sook departed for Okyu Children's Hospital at 2:30 p.m. accompanied by Kim's wife, Ri Sol Ju.

Moon has met Kim twice this year, but each time at the Koreas' border village of Panmunjom.

This week's summit is in Pyongyang, North Korea's capital.

Mr Moon's chief of staff, however, played down the chance that Mr Moon's summit with Mr Kim will produce major progress in nuclear diplomacy.

FILE - In this September 14, 2018 file photo, South Korea's Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon, center left, and Ri Son Gwon, chairman of the North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification, center right, attend at an opening ceremony for two Koreas' first liaison office in Kaesong, North Korea. The North is being treated to a veritable who's who from the world of high-powered South Korean business leaders, many of whom could be seen lining up to get on Moon's plane for Pyongyang on Tuesday, some looking a little taken aback at having their IDs scanned by a security person. "-North Korean dialog, Kim said, "[South Korea] needs to have some kind of mediating role to [continue dialog]".

Kim Jong Un with Moon Jae-in at Pyongyang airport at start of their third summit
Image This is the third summit between the two leaders

And also that inter-Korean summits could now be held any time, even just for one day without any preparation, allowing the two leaders to meet whenever they wish.

Their previous meetings this year were at the Demilitarized Zone that divides the two countries.

"North Korea talks, that would be meaningful", Moon was quoted as saying.

South Korea's president hopes to be a mediator between the two, as well as boosting the inter-Korean relationship.

North Korea wants a formal declaration ending the Korean War first.

This EPA photo shows North Korea's Brilliant Fatherland mass gymnastics performance in Pyongyang.

Carrying out other agreements, such as reconnecting severed inter-Korean railways and roads and resuming stalled past cooperation projects, would be hard, as it would violate USA -led worldwide sanctions on the North.

Officials say many of Moon's official events in Pyongyang, including the leaders' opening summit remarks, will be broadcast live in South Korea.

"I hope the Moon-Kim summit can make a meaningful opportunity for possible dialogues between Pyongyang and the United States as well".

The Democratic Party's Rep. Han Jeoung-ae teared up as she watched Moon and his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong-un greet each other with an embrace at Sunan International Airport on TV.

While presiding over a meeting with top advisers on Monday, Mr Moon said he "aims to have lots of heart-to-heart talks" with Mr Kim and achieve "irreversible, permanent peace that is not shaken by worldwide politics".

Asked about the US position on a war-ending declaration, a State Department spokesperson, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to comment by name, said that during their June summit in Singapore, "President Trump and Chairman Kim committed to working toward complete denuclearization and to joining their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula".

Kim thanked South Korea's President Moon Jae-in for bringing about the Singapore meeting in June as the two leaders began their third round of talks in Pyongyang. But in August, Defense Secretary James Mattis said the US had no future plans to end the joint military drills. The talks are to continue Wednesday and Moon is expected to return to Seoul on Thursday.

"While North Korea has stopped testing missiles and nuclear devices, they have NOT moved toward denuclearization", he tweeted.

On Wednesday, Moon and Kim plan to hold a second day of official talks after which they are expected to unveil a joint statement, and a separate military pact created to defuse tensions and prevent armed clashes.

After winding up his schedule in North Korea, Moon is expected to visit the main press center for the inter-Korean summit in Seoul to personally give a briefing on the results of his visit.

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