Trump enthusiastic at North Korea missile pledge, others doubtful

Posted September 20, 2018

Though such performances typically include regime propaganda, Wednesday's performance has reportedly been tweaked so it contains nothing that would be considered sensitive by the South Korean side.

Washington has demanded concrete action toward denuclearization, such as a full disclosure of North Korea's nuclear and missile facilities, before agreeing to key goals of Pyongyang, including an easing of global sanctions and an official end to the Korean War.

Mr Moon also said Mr Kim would try to visit Seoul sometime this year. It's the third time the two leaders have met this year, but the first visit by a South Korean president to the North Korean capital since 2007. Two of the previous inter-Korean summits were held in Pyongyang; the other two were held in Panmunjom, the inter-Korean truce village in the Demilitarized Zone.

PYONGYANG, Korea, Democratic People's Republic Of - The leaders of North and South Korea announced a wide range of agreements Wednesday which they said were a major step toward peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Given present relations, the latter would present nearly insurmountable cross-border customs, immigration, communications and transport challenges - but would certainly segue with Moon's publicly declared hopes of linking the Northern and Southern cross-border road and rail networks.

"Also, North Korea has agreed to take additional measures such as the permanent dismantling of Nyongbyon nuclear facility if there are corresponding measures from the USA".

More news: Douglas Costa elbows, headbutts, spits at Sassuolo player before red card

Washington is pressing for the North's "final, fully verified denuclearisation", while Pyongyang wants a formal declaration that the 1950-53 Korean War is over and has condemned "gangster-like" demands for it to give up its weapons unilaterally.

CNN reported that South and North Korea have commited to an "era of no war", taking a step closer to peace by signing a joint military agreement that removes the threat of conflict on the Peninsula.

Many here will wisely reserve judgment on whether the South Korean president's lofty claim to have removed "every threat" of war is correct - recent Korean history is littered with grand-sounding rhetoric that dissolved in the winds of the rivals' enmity - but if Moon and Kim can pull off what they've agreed to this week, there could be an outbreak of that rarest of feelings when it comes to inter-Korean ties: optimism. A top-tier delegation of business leaders, including the heads of Samsung, SK and LG, were also in the city. They agreed that Kim would visit the South in the near future.

Trump has maintained that he and Kim have a solid relationship, and both leaders have expressed interest in a follow-up summit to their meeting in June in Singapore.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un offered some of the first concrete steps toward denuclearization this week, committing in a meeting with Moon Jae-in, his South Korean counterpart, to dismantle the North's nuclear test site in exchange for concessions from the United States. "Very exciting!" Trump wrote in a pair of tweets.

At the start of their meeting, Kim thanked Moon for brokering the June summit with Trump. Washington is demanding concrete action towards denuclearization before agreeing to key goals of Pyongyang - declaring an official end to the 1950-53 Korean War and easing tough worldwide sanctions.

More news: Hong Kong raises typhoon alert as Mangkhut approaches

Whatever happens down the road between Kim and Trump, or Kim and whoever follows Trump, since North Korean leaders tend to outlast American presidents, this is to be regarded as a moment of triumph.

North Korea was expected to hold a huge mass games spectacle later in the day, with Moon attending an event expected to draw about 150,000 spectators, Seoul said.

Experts warn that such a process will take years, and will be extremely invasive. Observers say the North's leader may be using such humility and candidness to underline the point that his denuclearization commitment is genuine.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in (L) and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un hold a joint news conference in Pyongyang on September 19, 2018.

Politeness apart, Kim seems seriously concerned about the dilapidated state of his country in ways his famously drab father Kim Jong-il never was.

Pundits were mixed on the morning's announcements from Pyongyang.

More news: Russia, Turkey agree Idlib demilitarized zone

"And now we have to turn this path we have just paved into a path of complete denuclearization and turn it into action", said Moon during the conference.