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U.S. And South Korea Work Towards Improving Diplomacy With North Korea

About one hour before the scheduled meeting, around 40 Korean-Americans gathered near the near the White House in a show of support for President Moon, chanting slogans like “Peace maker president” and “We love Moon!”

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White House
US President Donald Trump welcomes South Korean President Moon Jae-in to the White House in Washington, DC, April 11, 2019. RFA

South Korean President Moon Jae-In and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed Thursday to keep up diplomacy with North Korea, including possible new summit talks with the North’s leader Kim Jong Un, but the allies disagreed on the level of economic sanctions needed to press Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons.

At their first meeting since Trump’s failed Hanoi summit with Kim Jong Un in February, Trump argued for keeping in place sanctions designed to starve the North’s nuclear and missile programs of hard currency, while saying he was open to meeting Kim a third time.

“We want sanctions to remain in place,” Trump said at the White House, according to U.S. media. “I think that sanctions right now are at a level that’s a fair level.”

U.S.
Kim is “a person I’ve gotten to know very well, and respect and hopefully, and I really believe over a period of time, a lot of tremendous things will happen. I think North Korea has a tremendous potential,” Trump told reporters before the talks. VOA

“There are various smaller deals that maybe could happen,” Trump said. “You could work out step-by-step pieces, but at this moment, we’re talking about the big deal. The big deal is we have to get rid of the nuclear weapons.”

Moon did not mention sanctions directly in his White House appearance, but he has called for sanctions relief to coax North Korea to begin nuclear disarmament.

North Korea experts say that Moon, who wants to remove curbs on inter-Korean economic projects, would privately lobby Trump for a gesture to keep Kim engaged in the diplomacy.

The Vietnam summit ended in disagreement over how Kim might shed its nuclear arsenal, as Trump demands and the sanctions relief that Kim seeks as a reward for cooperating.

Trump, who also met Kim in Singapore last year, said: “I enjoy the summits, I enjoy being with the chairman.”

Kim is “a person I’ve gotten to know very well, and respect and hopefully, and I really believe over a period of time, a lot of tremendous things will happen. I think North Korea has a tremendous potential,” Trump told reporters before the talks.

Moon said he was hopeful that a third U.S.-North Korea summit would happen. His national security adviser said Thursday that Moon would also try to have another meeting with Kim.

Bruce Klingner, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation think tank in Washington, told RFA that the disagreement about sanctions shows a rift between the U.S. and South Korea in terms of North Korea policy.

“It showed two allies remain far apart on approach to North Korea. President Moon wants to reward North Korea even though there has been no movement in denuclearization. The U.S. said it has no interest in that approach,” he said.

U.S.
U.S. President Donald Trump agreed Thursday to keep up diplomacy with North Korea, including possible new summit talks with the North’s leader Kim Jong Un, but the allies disagreed on the level of economic sanctions needed to press Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons. Pixabay

Richard Bush, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution said, “I give President Moon credit for trying to engage President Trump on [the North Korea] issue and trying to get closer alignment in our strategy toward North Korea. It appears that his attempt didn’t make too much progress.”

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About one hour before the scheduled meeting, around 40 Korean-Americans gathered near the near the White House in a show of support for President Moon, chanting slogans like “Peace maker president” and “We love Moon!”

Meanwhile, a smaller group of 10 Korean-Americans chanted phrases in support of Trump’s hard line on North Korea and accused Moon of being a North Korean spy. (RFA)

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South Korea Overturns Abortion Ban After 66 Years

South Korea abortion ban ruled ‘unconstitutional’

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abortion

South Korea’s Constitutional Court ruled on Thursday as “unconstitutional” the current ban on abortion and called for its amendment in a landmark decision that signals a major change in various aspects of society.

South Korea is one of the few developed countries where abortion is criminalized.

The court called for a legislative change to partially allow the termination in the early stage of pregnancy and ordered that the law must be revised by the end of 2020, Yonhap news agency reported.

It also ruled that it was against the Constitution to punish physicians for carrying out the procedure.

South Africa
Nurse Margorie Sithole, left, explains to Martina Mabe, center, and Flora Tshabalala, right, that abortion proceedures will only be performed during the week at Baragwanath Hospital in Johannesburg, Feb. 1, 1997. VOA

Under the 1953 ban, women who procured abortions could be fined and imprisoned, except in cases of rape, incest or risk to their health.

The abortion law was reviewed after a challenge from a female doctor who said the ban endangered women and limited their rights.

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Pro-choice activists celebrated when the ruling was announced, while anti-abortion campaigners were left in tears, according to the BBC.

The broadcaster reported that the push for the ban to be lifted came from a burgeoning movement fighting for women’s rights in South Korea. Campaigners who favoured an end to the ban said it was part of a broader bias against women in the country. (IANS)