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Kim Jong Un Seeks More Inter-Korean Summits

Post-summit nuclear talks between Washington and Pyongyang quickly settled into a stalemate

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Kim Jong Un, Korean
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meets with participants in the 4th National Meeting of Activists in Agricultural Field in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this undated picture released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency, Dec. 28, 2018. VOA

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sent a letter to South Korean President Moon Jae-in Sunday calling for more peace talks between the leaders in the new year following their active engagement in 2018, South Korea’s presidential office said.

Moon’s office said Kim also expressed regret that he couldn’t make a planned visit to Seoul, South Korea’s capital, by the end of December as pledged by the leaders during their last summit in September in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital.

The Blue House didn’t fully disclose Kim’s letter.

Korean
South Korean President Moon Jae-in makes a toast with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a luncheon at Samjiyon Guesthouse in Ryanggang province, North Korea. VOA

‘Difficulties ahead’

Moon later thanked Kim for his “warm” letter in a tweeted message and said without elaborating that Kim expressed strong willingness to carry out the agreements he made this year during a series of inter-Korean summits and a historic June meeting with President Donald Trump.

“There will still be a lot of difficulties ahead,” Moon said in his message. “However, our hearts will become more open if we put in that much effort. There’s no change in our heart about welcoming Chairman Kim (to the South).”

The tweet also included a photo that showed a ruby-colored folder emblazoned with the seal of Pyongyang’s powerful State Affairs Commission and the top part of Kim’s letter, which started with: “Dear your excellency President Moon Jae-in. Our meeting in Pyongyang feels like yesterday but about 100 days have already passed and now we are at the close of an unforgettable 2018.”

Korea
North Korean army soldiers are greeted by South Korean army soldiers, wearing helmets, as they cross the Military Demarcation Line inside the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) to inspect the dismantled South Korean guard post in Cheorwon. VOA

Summits, goodwill gestures

Through three summits between Moon and Kim this year, the Koreas agreed to a variety of goodwill gestures and vowed to resume economic cooperation when possible, voicing optimism that international sanctions could end to allow such activity.

The rivals have also taken steps to reduce their conventional military threat, such as removing mines and firearms from the border village of Panmunjom, destroying some front-line guard posts and creating buffer zones along their land and sea boundaries and a no-fly zone above the border.

“Chairman Kim said that the leaders by meeting three times in a single year and implementing bold measures to overcome the long period of conflict lifted our (Korean) nation from military tension and war fears,” Kim Eui-kyeom, Moon’s spokesman, said in a televised briefing.

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FILE – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in inside the Peace House at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone, South Korea, April 27, 2018.

“Chairman Kim said he will keep a close eye on the situation and expressed strong will to visit Seoul. … Chairman Kim also expressed his intentions to meet President Moon frequently again in 2019 to advance discussions on the Korean Peninsula’s peace and prosperity and discuss issues on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” the spokesman said.

Moon’s office did not reveal how Kim Jong Un’s letter was delivered or whether he made any comments about his planned second summit with Trump in 2019.

New Year’s address

The letter comes days before Kim is expected to address North Koreans in a New Year’s speech that North Korean leaders traditionally use to announce major policy decisions and goals.

Kim used his New Year’s speech a year ago to initiate diplomacy with Seoul and Washington, which led to his meetings with Moon and a historic June summit with Trump. In his meetings with Moon and Trump, Kim signed on to vague statements calling for a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula without describing when or how it would occur.

Also Read: North Korea Refuses To Denuclearize Until U.S. Removes Its Nuclear Threat

Post-summit nuclear talks between Washington and Pyongyang quickly settled into a stalemate as the countries struggled between the sequencing of the North’s disarmament and the removal of U.S.-led international sanctions against the North. There continue to be doubts about whether Kim will ever voluntarily relinquish his nukes, which he may see as his strongest guarantee of survival.

Kim and Trump are trying to arrange a second summit in early 2019. (VOA)

Next Story

Exhibition Marking 100 Years of First Display of Korean Anti-Colonial Resistance to Open in Delhi

Notably, the entire Korean Peninsula was under Japanese occupation for 35 years from 1910-1945 because the Korean War (1950-53) separated it into North and South

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Exhibition, South Korea, India
The exhibition "100th Anniversary of the March 1st Independence Movement: One Shiny Day", commemorating the spirit of the March 1st Movement - pioneering display of anti-colonial sentiment against its coloniser Japan - will open at the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA). Pixabay

As part of South Korea-India cultural exchange, an exhibition marking 100 years of the first display of Korean anti-colonial resistance will open in Delhi, and a show on Mahatma Gandhi’s Dandi March will travel to a South Korean museum next year.

The exhibition “100th Anniversary of the March 1st Independence Movement: One Shiny Day”, commemorating the spirit of the March 1st Movement – pioneering display of anti-colonial sentiment against its coloniser Japan – will open at the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) on August 14 and will continue till September 29.

Notably, the entire Korean Peninsula was under Japanese occupation for 35 years from 1910-1945 because the Korean War (1950-53) separated it into North and South.

On March 1, 1919, the movement was joined by people from different walks of life regardless of their region, status and wealth, hinting at the people’s will for independence at home and abroad.

Exhibition, South Korea, India
As part of South Korea-India cultural exchange, an exhibition marking 100 years of the first display of Korean anti-colonial resistance will open in Delhi, and a show on Mahatma Gandhi’s Dandi March will travel to a South Korean museum next year. Pixabay

The upcoming show will display art inspired by the North-South divide, the Korean War refugees, downfall of Korean imperialists, and the first freedom struggle and people’s solidarity.

“The exhibition will display the artworks of 12 artists teams: KWON Hayoun, KIM BoMin, KIM Woojo, BAE Sungmi, SHON Sunghyun, AHN Eun-me, AHN Changhong, LEE Sanghyun, LEE Woosung, JEONG Jae-wan and JO Dongwhan + JO Haejun,” the Korean Cultural Centre India said in a statement to IANS.

The exhibition will also celebrate 15th August, which is the Independence Day of both India and Korea – North and South.

“The exhibition presents the underlying theme of the sorrow and restoration of South Korea that has similar modern history to India. I hope the artworks promote mutual understanding and shared values of both people of India and Korea,” Shin Bong-kil, South Korea’s Ambassador to India, said.

Also Read- Integration of Jammu & Kashmir to Indian Mainland Brings Uniformity to Economic Policies of Both Regions

To deepen the Korea-India friendship through shared culture, NGMA’s in-house curated exhibition on Gandhi’s ‘Salt March’ in Dandi, will open next year at Daegu Art Museum in Daegu, South Korea.

The show of sculptures, paintings, sketches and art installations, will signify the non-violent independence movements of both Indian and Korean people.

The multimedia exhibition “Dandi Yatraa” is part of the year-long celebrations of the 150th birth anniversary of Gandhi and can be currently viewed at NGMA here. (IANS)