South Korea to play peacemaker
Seoul to take on mediator role as it pushes for successful Trump-Kim talks
As talks between Pyongyang and Washington hit a snag, Seoul is stepping in as mediator to ensure that the historic summit takes place as planned.
SEOUL: South Korea said it’s pushing to reset high-level talks with North Korea and will communicate closely with Washington and Pyongyang to increase the chances of a successful summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on resolving the standoff over the North’s nuclear weapons.
The announcement by Seoul’s presidential National Security Council came a day after North Korea threatened to scrap next month’s historic meeting between Trump and Kim, saying it has no interest in a “one-sided” affair meant to pressure the North to abandon its nukes.
The North also broke off a high-level meeting with South Korea to protest the US-South Korean military exercises the North has long claimed are an invasion rehearsal.
The North’s surprise announcement seemed to cool what had been an unusual flurry of outreach from a country that last year conducted a provocative series of weapons tests that had many fearing the region was on the edge of war.
Analysts said it’s unlikely that North Korea intends to scuttle all diplomacy. More likely, they said, is that it wants to gain leverage ahead of the talks between Kim and Trump, scheduled for June 12 in Singapore.
South Korea said it would seek to mediate between the United States and North Korea after Pyongyang threatened to pull out of an unprecedented summit between its leader Kim Jong-un and President Donald Trump on June 12 in Singapore.
Japan’s Asahi newspaper yesterday reported the United States has demanded North Korea ship some nuclear warheads, an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and other nuclear material overseas within six months.
The newspaper, citing several sources familiar with North Korean issues, said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared to have told the North Korean leader when they met this month that Pyongyang might be removed from a list of state sponsors of terrorism if it ships out those nuclear items.
Asahi also reported that if Pyongyang agrees to complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation at the planned Singapore summit, Washington was considering giving guarantees for Kim’s regime.
Trump has said it is unclear whether the summit will go ahead but he would continue to insist on denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.
South Korea’s presidential Blue House said it would seek to bridge the gap between Washington and Pyongyang.
“Seeing the announced statements and responses from North Korea and the United States, we see the two parties as having a sincere and serious attitude (to stand in each other’s shoes),” an official said.
Meanwhile, the Chinese government’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, yesterday said the measures North Korea has taken to ease tension on the Korean peninsula should be acknowledged, and all other parties, especially the United States, should cherish the opportunity for peace. — Reuters/AP
Seeing the announced statements and responses ... we see the two parties as having a sincere and serious attitude (to stand in each other’s shoes). Blue House official