Koreans divided by war find little peace 65 years later
18 August, 2018, 19:55
"There were mentions that if there are problems to be resolved by both sides, on humanitarian issues or for the development of inter-Korean relations, we should do it", the minister told reporters.
Moon has championed efforts to bring peace to the Korean Peninsula since taking office past year, and played a crucial role in bringing Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump together for their historic first summit in June.
South and North Koreas technically remain at war as the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. That meeting, and a second meeting in Panmunjom on May 26, helped to lay the groundwork for Kim's talks with President Donald Trump in June, the first time sitting leaders of the United States and North Korea have met.
But the North Korean leadership has reason to act with urgency on the issue of an official peace treaty.
Whenever the summit is held, Moon will face a tricky balancing act: maintaining momentum for inter-Korean dialogue while also nudging Kim Jong Un to make progress in denuclearization talks with the US, an ally of South Korea.
He expressed hope that Moscow and Pyongyang would "consistently develop mutually beneficial cooperation, including the implementation of the three-party program involving Russia, North Korea and South Korea". Analysts say Moon could try to act as a mediator between the United States and North Korea, having salvaged the Singapore meeting when Trump abruptly cancelled it.
The two Koreas announced Monday that their leaders have agreed to hold their third meeting this year, seeking to preserve a detente tested by disputes between North Korea and the U.S.
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That in turn could pave the way for an East Asian Railroad Community, encompassing six Northeast Asian countries and the United States, he said. The conciliatory statements from both sides were in sharp contrast to the harsh words that have been coming out of both Washington and Pyongyang the past week, officials from both sides accusing the other of intransigence in implementing the agreement reached by President Trump and Kim Jong Un in Singapore just two months ago. "This will mark the start to a multilateral security system in northeast Asia".
He also emphasized the importance of creating an economic community between the two Koreas, although he reiterated Seoul's stance that "full-fledged" economic cooperation can be achieved only when the denuclearization of the peninsula takes place.
President Moon Jae-in proposed connecting South Korea with North Korea with vast railway network in a move towards peace and prosperity after decades of conflict.
In pitching an optimistic forecast of a future based on a nuclear-free North Korea, he said the impact from fully realized inter-Korean economic cooperation could reach "170 trillion won [$149.8 billion] at a minimum over the next 30 years", citing government research.
Moon said he aimed for "unification economic zones" along border provinces when military tension eases and there is lasting peace. "The reconnection of railroads and roads is the beginning of mutual prosperity on the Korean Peninsula". I believe in the power of optimism.
Until the two sides find a middle ground for negotiations, North Korea's economic plans will sit idle and one of history's longest running wars will continue without formal peace.
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