A Mir­a­cle in a Day: The Moon-kim Sum­mit and Prospects for Peace in Korea

Global Asia - - CONTENTS - By Chung-in Moon

The sum­mit gave wings to frayed ef­forts to de­nu­cle­arize North Korea, but the chal­lenges ahead re­main fraught.

What a dif­fer­ence 12 hours can make. The sum­mit be­tween the lead­ers of North and South Korea in the vil­lage of Pan­munjom on April 27 ap­pears to have rad­i­cally al­tered the dy­nam­ics of ef­forts to de­nu­cle­arize North Korea and bring peace to the Korean Penin­sula.

It also laid the foun­da­tions for the his­toric sum­mit be­tween US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and North Korea’s Chair­man Kim

Jong Un in Sin­ga­pore on June

12. But the chal­lenges ahead are fraught with dif­fi­cul­ties that will re­quire deft diplo­macy, writes Chung-in Moon.1 The RENOWNED south Korean nov­el­ist han Gang con­trib­uted a mov­ing column to the New York Times on Oct. 7, 2017, en­ti­tled “While the us Talks of War, south Korea shud­ders.” her choice of words aptly re­flected the sen­ti­ments of many south Kore­ans. Dur­ing the course of that year, south Korea’s somber geopo­lit­i­cal re­al­ity seemed to be marked by a never-end­ing se­quence of crises — there was a “cri­sis of april,” a “cri­sis of au­gust” and a “cri­sis of Oc­to­ber,” all trig­gered by North Korean provo­ca­tions or us bel­liger­ence. For­eign cor­re­spon­dents rushed to seoul to re­port on the po­ten­tial es­ca­la­tion of mil­i­tary con­flict on the Korean Penin­sula, and news on North Korea was the lead item on broad­casts in the us night after night. For­eign­ers might have en­joyed watch­ing the thrill and sus­pense of such news re­ports, but south Kore­ans shud­dered and pre­ferred to block out the dark­en­ing re­al­ity.

In­deed, the Korean Penin­sula was back at the cross­roads of war and peace. We had not stood this close to a point of no re­turn since the sign­ing of the Korean armistice agree­ment in July 1953. Kim Jong un’s reck­less mil­i­tary provo­ca­tions, Don­ald Trump’s of­fen­sive rhetoric and mil­i­tary ma­neu­vers, China’s harsh po­si­tion over the de­ploy­ment of the Ter­mi­nal high al­ti­tude area De­fense (Thaad) anti-mis­sile sys­tem in south Korea and sharp do­mes­tic po­lar­iza­tion in south Korea trapped newly in­au­gu­rated Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in in a se­cu­rity dilemma with grave im­pli­ca­tions. how­ever, the in­ter-korean sum­mit that was held in Pan­munjom on april 27 — only

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