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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.

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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

South Korea to Set up the World’s First 5G Autonomous Car Driving Test Bed

While the country already has an operational test bed for autonomous cars in Hwaseong, some 60 kilometers south of the capital city, it is not open to the public, and is restricted for vehicle testing and certifications

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self-driving car
In this Dec. 13, 2016, file photo, a skylight is reflected in the rear window of a Waymo driverless car during a Google event in San Francisco. Google's robotic car spin-off Waymo is poised to become the first to test fully driverless vehicles on California. VOA

South Korea on Thursday said it will set up the world’s first 5G-based autonomous car driving test bed in the capital city as it strives to take the lead in future mobility technology.

The Sangam test bed in western Seoul, to officially open Saturday, will have all the necessary infrastructure, such as a recharging station for electric vehicles (EVs), 3-D detailed maps of the road and a “future mobility center” that will act as the overall control tower, according to the Ministry of Science and ICT.

The test bed, to be fully opened to the public and be operated 24 hours a day, will be used to conduct and test so-called Cooperative-Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) services based on 5G network communication, Yonhap news agency reported.

5G is the latest wireless communication network capable of superfast connection speeds, low latency and the ability to connect many devices without the system bogging down. The network, coupled with detailed 3-D images and maps of streets and related software, can make it possible for vehicles to be driven without human input.

Smartphone, 5G
5G to make way in automobile market as well. Pixabay

Asia’s fourth-largest economy was the first country in the world to launch full-fledged 5G services on April 3 and plans to provide coverage to neighborhoods in 85 cities that can benefit 93 per cent of the population by the end of 2019.

The ministry said seven vehicles — four buses and three passenger cars — will be operated on the 1.1-kilometer testing road, and citizens will be allowed to ride in the vehicles so they can see for themselves the ability of self-driving cars to recognise traffic signals, avoid obstacles on the road and ferry people safely from one place to another.

Also Read- Tech Mahindra and Airbus Come Together for Cabin, Cargo Design

While the country already has an operational test bed for autonomous cars in Hwaseong, some 60 kilometers south of the capital city, it is not open to the public, and is restricted for vehicle testing and certifications. (IANS)