Monday, 26 February, 2018

South Korea's Moon may be on brink of defining legacy

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Frederick Owens | 12 February, 2018, 16:37

The North is under a set of multilayered global sanctions due to its provocations, with U.S. President Donald Trump showing no signs of letting up on a "maximum pressure' campaign to press the North to give up its nuclear arsenal".

"The vice president is grateful that President Moon reaffirmed his strong commitment to the global maximum pressure campaign and for his support for continued sanctions", Pence spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said when asked about the developments.

The US has given mixed signals about its willingness to talk.

Vice President Mike Pence (bottom right) watches the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, on Friday.

"It is inconceivable that Moon would visit North Korea when Pyongyang has shown no signs of specific action toward denuclearization", said a high-ranking Japanese Foreign Ministry official.

Last year, North Korea conducted dozens of missile launches and its sixth and largest nuclear test in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions as it pursues its goal of developing a nuclear-armed missile capable of reaching the United States.

During the meetings in South Korea, Moon assured Pence he would tell Pyongyang that talks alone would not result in economic or diplomatic benefits for the dictatorship, only steps towards denuclearization.

Moon can only visit North Korea on one condition - that Kim agrees once and for all to give up his nuclear weapons.

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Kim Yo-jong's high political status in the regime and blood ties with the leader have raised expectations that she would come to the South with a personal message for President Moon from her brother.

USA officials have been urging South Korea to be cautious in its rapprochement with the North.

It said the two sides held "a comprehensive discussion. on the inter-Korean relations and various issues on the Korean peninsula in an amicable atmosphere", but did not say whether the North's weapons programme was mentioned.

After months of silence on whether it would even take part in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in the South, the Games have driven a rapprochement on the peninsula, while the North's athletes, performers and delegates have dominated the headlines.

According to the presidential Blue House, Moon replied to the invitation by saying, "Let's create the environment for that to be able to happen".

Bach will make the visit on the North's invitation as part of an agreement between the IOC, Pyongyang and Seoul, but the objective of the trip has not been revealed.

While the Winter Games are just starting to heat up this week, already success has been made for a stretch in world peace with the inclusion of North Korea into the games, proving once again how the power of sports can truly change the world.

Still, the United States has a huge influence on talks of how to handle the North's threats of nuclear attacks.

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