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Revitalizing North Korea Talks With U.S. After Failed Hanoi Summit

“North Korea is proposing a ‘nuclear-free zone of the Korean peninsula,’” he said. It’s a concept first introduced by Kim Il Sung 30 years ago.

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President Donald Trump hands a pen to South Korean President Moon Jae-In during a signing ceremony for the United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement during the United Nations General Assembly, Monday, Sept. 24, 2018, in New York. VOA

South Korean President Moon Jae-in heads for Washington Wednesday, where he will meet with U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday. Moon said previously he hoped his trip to the United States will revitalize stalled talks with North Korea that collapsed after Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un failed to reach an agreement during their February summit in Hanoi.

Harry Kazianis, director of Korean Studies at the Center of the National Interest, told VOA Moon’s Washington trip serves two purposes.

First, Kazianis said, Moon “wants to make sure that the talks [between Pyongyang and Washington] continue.”

He said the “bare minimum” Moon needs to accomplish during his trip is “to keep both sides sort of engaged” and “smooth over” any rough patches.

“I think what he’s really going to try and do is to see if both parties can split the difference,” said Kazianis.

That’s something that may be possible. Speaking last week on the televised news program CBS This Morning, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said diplomatic channels remained open and there had been ongoing “conversations after Hanoi about how to move forward.”

In addition, Pompeo said he was “confident” there would be a third summit between the two leaders, possibly in the coming months; however, he gave no details.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in during their meeting at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, Oct. 7, 2018.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in during their meeting at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, Oct. 7, 2018.

​Cheon Seong Whon, a visiting research fellow at The Asan Institute for Policy Studies, was not as optimistic about fruitful discussions with Pyongyang.

“[The United States] cannot dampen the mood on talks; therefore the emphasis on [Pompeo’s] positive remarks,” said Cheon. “I do not think they are seriously considering that North Korea will give up their nukes [because] North Korea has never said that they will stop nuclear and missile development.”

Sanctions relief

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has advocated for inter-Korean projects as a way to further peace on the Korean peninsula. These efforts include reopening the joint industrial complex in Kaesong and resuming tours at Mount Kumgang, but doing so would run afoul of international sanctions.

Pompeo said economic sanctions on North Korea would not be lifted until Pyongyang abandoned its nuclear weapons; nevertheless, local South Korean media reports that Moon will propose easing sanctions on North Korea when he meets with President Trump.

“Kim is obviously not going to fully denuclearize right away,” said Kazianis, noting that the United States would probably not drop its sanctions against North Korea if Kim made a “small move.”

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Pompeo said economic sanctions on North Korea would not be lifted until Pyongyang abandoned its nuclear weapons; nevertheless, local South Korean media reports that Moon will propose easing sanctions on North Korea when he meets with President Trump. VOA

Therefore, Kazianis envisions a situation where the United States would temporarily drop sanctions if North Korea would completely abandon the Yongbyon nuclear facility.

“That allows both sides to continue on in the process, and I think that’s something Moon can do,” he said.

Cheon is unsure an easing of sanctions will bring about the desired results on the peninsula.

“From 1991, when the North Korean nuclear issue began, to the current sanction, the [South] Korean and U.S. governments have participated” in a repetitive cycle, he said.

Seoul and Washington have attempted to create a “virtuous cycle” where incentives were given to North Korea in exchange for a decrease in threatening behavior, said Cheon, calling the practice a “historically proven failure.”

Unlike Presidents Trump and Moon, Kim Jong Un can “wait things out” since the United States and South Korea have fixed terms for their leaders, Kazianis asserted.

“So if Trump and Moon are serious [about negotiating with Kim about denuclearization], they’re going to have to put their best package together pretty soon, then I think we’re going to be able to find out if Kim is serious,” he said.

Kazianis added, “If that’s not the case, then we’re going to have to move to probably tougher position.”

That’s something that may be necessary said Cheon.

“North Korea is proposing a ‘nuclear-free zone of the Korean peninsula,’” he said. It’s a concept first introduced by Kim Il Sung 30 years ago.

Cheon explained that North Korea is seeking to remove South Korea from the United States’ nuclear umbrella, prohibit the deployment of nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula, withdraw U.S. forces, and prohibit the deployment of strategic assets.

Also Read: Reports on Illegal Activity in Nation Will Be Rewarded By North Korea’s Government

“South Korea and the U.S. should establish their positions and develop a stable alliance to ensure North Korea gives up its nuclear weapons,” urged Cheon.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in departed Seoul April 10 and meets in Washington with U.S. President Donald Trump, Thursday, April 11. (VOA)

Next Story

Student Project into Space, NASA Comes Up With Chicago Planetarium

As the NASA-owned, Northrop Grumann-developed Antares rocket successfully blasted off from the coast of Virginia on April 17, it wasn’t just making a resupply mission to the International Space Station.

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“Our main goal was to see if the ozone layer is getting thinner and by how much, and if there is different parts of the Earth’s atmosphere getting thinner because of the pollution and greenhouse gases, Pixabay

 

College student Fatima Guerra, 19, will be the first to admit, she’s into some really nerdy stuff.

“Like, up there nerdy.”

“Way up there nerdy,” she says. “All the way up into space.”

Guerra is an astronomer in training, involved since a high school internship with a small project at the Adler Planetarium, with big goals.

“Our main goal was to see if the ozone layer is getting thinner and by how much, and if there is different parts of the Earth’s atmosphere getting thinner because of the pollution and greenhouse gases,” she told VOA from the laboratory at the Adler where she often works.

FILE - Apollo 13 crew members Commander Captain James A. Lovell, Jr., right, and Lunar Module Pilot Fred W. Haise pose for a photo during a 40th Anniversary reunion of the moon mission at the Adler Planetarium, April 12, 2010, in Chicago.
Apollo 13 crew members Commander Captain James A. Lovell, Jr., right, and Lunar Module Pilot Fred W. Haise pose for a photo during a 40th Anniversary reunion of the moon mission at the Adler Planetarium, April 12, 2010, in Chicago. VOA

Coding ThinSat

Data that sheds light on those circumstances is gathered by a small electronic device called “ThinSat” designed to orbit the Earth. It is developed not by high-paid engineers and software programmers, but by Chicago-area students like Guerra.

“We focused on coding the different parts of the sensors that the ThinSat is composed of. So, we coded so that it can measure light intensity, pressure.”

“This stuff is very nerdy,” Jesus Garcia admits with a chuckle.

“What we hope to accomplish is look at Earth from space as if it was the very first exoplanet that we have. So, imagine that we are looking at the very first images from a very distant planet.”

As a systems engineer, Garcia oversees the work of the students developing ThinSat for the Adler’s Far Horizon’s Project, which he outlines “bring all types of students, volunteers and our staff to develop projects, engineering projects, that allow us to answer scientific questions.”

Garcia says the students he works with on the project cross national, racial and cultural divides to work toward a common goal.

“Here at the Adler, we have students who are minorities who have been faced with challenges of not having opportunities presented to them,” he said. “And here we are presenting a mission where they are collaborating with us scientists and engineers on our first mission that is going into space.”

Rocket carries project into space

As the NASA-owned, Northrop Grumann-developed Antares rocket successfully blasted off from the coast of Virginia on April 17, it wasn’t just making a resupply mission to the International Space Station.

On board was ThinSat, the culmination of work by many at the Adler, including Guerra, who joined the Far Horizons team as a high school requirement that ended up becoming much more.

“A requirement can become a life-changing opportunity, and you don’t even know it,” she told VOA. “It’s really exciting to see, or to know, especially, that my work is going to go up into space and help in the scientific world.”

Daughter of immigrants

It is also exciting for her parents, immigrants from Guatemala, who can boast that their daughter is one of the few who can claim to have built a satellite orbiting the Earth.

“I told them it might become a worldwide type of news, and I’m going to be a part of it. And they were really proud. And they were calling my family over there and saying, ‘She might be on TV.’ And it’s something they really feel a part of me about,” Guerra said.

Also Read: ‘Big Steps To Reduce Carbon Emission’ Apple Expects Cooperation With China on Clean Energy

Long after the data compiled by ThinSat is complete, Guerro will still have a place in history as a member of a team that put the first satellite developed by a private planetarium into space.

She says her friends don’t think that’s nerdy at all.

“It’s cool, because it’s interesting to see that something so nerdy is actually going to work, and is going to go up into something so important,” she said. (VOA)