It looks like the US government will not be participating in any talks with North Korea any time soon:
The White House expressed veiled opposition to South Korea’s proposal for rare inter-Korean talks Monday, saying current conditions are “far away” from those needed to reopen dialogue with the recalcitrant state.
Seoul proposed military talks for this coming Friday and Red Cross talks on Aug. 1 to discuss ways to ease tensions along their shared border and resume reunions of families separated since the 1950-53 Korean War.
The offer came amid renewed tensions over the North’s first launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile on July 4.
“Well, obviously those comments came out of the Republic of Korea and I would refer you back to them,” Press Secretary Sean Spicer said during a briefing, when asked if there are certain conditions U.S. President Donald Trump would like to see met before the talks take place. “That being said, I think the president has made clear in the past with respect that any type of conditions that would have to be met are clearly far away from where we are now.” [Yonhap]
You can read more at the link.
It would be political suicide if the Moon administration forced the 12 North Koreans who defected from a restaurant in China to be repatriated:
South Korea may propose inter-Korean military talks as early as this week to follow up on President Moon Jae-in’s offer to stop all acts of hostility on the border, a government official said Sunday.
The unification, military and other relevant ministries are discussing the plan one day after Pyongyang first reacted to Moon’s suggestion, according to the official who asked not to be named de to sensitivity of the issue.
During his speech in Berlin on July 6, Moon laid out his vision for bringing peace to the Korean Peninsula, including a proposal to mutually halt acts of hostility along their tense border as of the July 27 anniversary of the armistice treaty that ended the three-year Korean War in 1953.
He also offered to hold reunions of families torn apart by the war on Oct. 4, Korea’s lunar fall harvest holiday and the 10th anniversary of the second inter-Korean summit.
The Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North’s ruling party, carried a commentary by a private writer, on Saturday saying it seemed “fortunate” as Moon included his government’s committment to the landmark joint declarations signed at the inter-Korean summits in 2000 and 2007. The two declarations aim to foster cross-border cooperation, exchanges and reconciliation.
The newspaper emphasized that the first step to improve relations should be the resolution of the fundamental issue of military confrontation. (………..)
But experts said the resumption of the event may take a bumpy road since the communist state continued in the commentary to demand South Korea repatriate 12 female North Koreans who worked at a Pyongyang-run restaurant in China and defected to Seoul en masse last year. [Yonhap]
You can read more at the link.
I foresee this being the opening gesture by the Moon administration towards some kind of freeze deal with North Korea that has a growing chorus from experts and the media:
President Moon Jae-in speaks about peace on the Korean Peninsula, inter-Korean relations and unification at the old city hall of Berlin, Germany, Thursday. The non-profit Korber Foundation invited the President to the event. / Yonhap
President Moon Jae-in said Thursday he will seek to pursue a peace treaty with North Korea, taking a step forward for inter-Korean reconciliation despite Pyongyang’s test-firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) two days earlier.
Moon’s pledge comes after North Korea and China have repeatedly called for the signing of a peace treaty with the United States to formally end the Korean War and settle the security crisis on the peninsula.
The President appeared to be seeking U.S. support in his push for a peace treaty as the U.S., on behalf of the United Nations, signed the 1953 armistice agreement with North Korea and China. South Korea was not among the signatories.
“We should make a peace treaty joined by all relevant parties at the end of the Korean War to settle a lasting peace on the peninsula,” Moon said during his Korean-language invitational speech at the Korber Foundation, a nonprofit think tank in Berlin. “I will take a comprehensive approach to North Koream nuclear issues to pursue the peace treaty along with complete denuclearization (in the region.)” [Korea Times]
You can read more at the link, but remember North Korea does not want peace, it wants peace treaty negotiations. There is a big difference.
Here is the latest outrageous demand from North Korea:
This graphic shows, from left, former NIS chief Lee Byung-ho, former South Korean President Park Geun-hye and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. (Yonhap)
North Korea on Wednesday warned of capital punishment against a former South Korean president and former spy chief for their alleged plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
The angry statement came after a Japanese media report that former South Korean President Park Geun-hye had instructed former National Intelligence Service (NIS) Director Lee Byung-ho to oust Kim by any means — including assassination.
The latest claim came amid lingering tensions on the Korean peninsula over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.
“Former President Park Geun-hye and former spy chief Lee Byung-ho as well as NIS agents can never make any appeal even though they meet miserable dog’s death any time, at any place and by whatever methods from this moment,” the North Korea Ministry of State Security said in an English-language statement carried by the country’s official Korean Central News Agency.
The statement demanded South Korea immediately hand over Park and Lee to North Korea, claiming they committed what it claims is hideous state-sponsored terrorism against the North’s supreme leadership.
North Korea also warned it will impose summary punishment without advance notice on those who organized, took part in or pursued the plot in case the U.S. and South Korea again try to stage a terrorist attack against North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. [Yonhap]
You can read more at the link, but I hope President Park has good security around her because of how unpopular she is in South Korea you never know if the Kim regime may think they could get away with an attack on her.
I am sure if the ROK government funnels enough cash to Kim Jong-un then the decision to have a joint team can be expedited, that is what this current posturing is all about:
Chang Ung (R), an International Olympic Committee (IOC) member from North Korea, shakes hands with fellow IOC member Wu Ching-Kuo of Chinese Taipei (L) during the opening ceremony of the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) World Taekwondo Championships at Taekwondowon’s T1 Arena in Muju, North Jeolla Province, on June 24, 2017. (Yonhap)
A veteran North Korean sports administrator visiting South Korea has expressed his misgivings about forming a joint Korean team for next year’s Winter Olympics south of the border due to the time crunch.
Chang Ung, the North’s lone member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), is in South Korea for the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) World Taekwondo Championships, which opened in Muju, 240 kilometers south of Seoul, on Saturday. He traveled with a delegation from the North Korea-led International Taekwondo Federation (ITF), whose demonstration team performed at the WTF event’s opening ceremony.
Chang crossed the tense border just days after South Korea’s new sports minister, Do Jong-hwan, proposed forming a joint women’s hockey team and holding skiing events at North Korea’s Masikyrong resort during the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
As an IOC member, Chang has been peppered with questions about Do’s ideas. According to an official with the WTF competition, Chang spoke of his doubts about the South Korean minister’s suggestions. [Yonhap]
You can read more at the link, but according to the article the North Koreans may not have anyone even qualify for the Winter Olympics to have a joint team with. Another thing to keep in mind is that the Kim regime had previously wanted to host some of the Winter Olympics events at their new ski resort. I wonder if this is something else that the current ROK government may try to pursue?
I say this every Olympics, but if the South Africans were banned from the Olympics because of their Apartheid policies than why is North Korea with its far worse human rights violations allowed in the Olympics much less championed like President Moon is currently doing?:
President Moon Jae-in renewed calls for warmer ties with Pyongyang in his remarks at the World Taekwondo Championships in Muju County, North Jeolla on Saturday, inviting North Korea to participate in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics next year to “fulfill the Olympic spirit of harmony and promote world peace.”
President Moon Jae-in, fourth from left in second row, with taekwondo athletes from North Korea, in the second row, and South Korea, in the first row, at the opening ceremony of World Taekwondo’s World Taekwondo Championships in Muju County, North Jeolla, Saturday. [YONHAP]
Moon’s latest outreach to Pyongyang came as a 36-member demonstration team from the International Taekwondo Federation (ITF), which included 32 North Korean nationals, touched down at Gimpo International Airport last Friday to participate in the World Taekwondo’s (formerly World Taekwondo Federation) World Taekwondo Championships.
Among members of the delegation were Ri Yong-son, president of ITF, and Chang Ung, former ITF chief and the only North Korean member on the International Olympic Committee (IOC). While welcoming the North Korean taekwondo team, Moon said he was “delighted” to have accomplished the first “inter-Korean sports cooperation” in his administration, adding that he hopes the ITF and World Taekwondo help bring peace to the Korean Peninsula. [Joong Ang Ilbo]
You can read more at the link, but a ban on North Korea competing in the Olympics seems like something President Trump could get traction on if he wanted. It would be very interesting to see which countries would defend North Korea participating that supported a ban on South Africa from 1964-1988. The ban was only removed when the Apartheid system was scheduled for removal. Why can’t the same standard be applied to the Kim regime which has done things far worse than what Apartheid South Africa ever did?
Co-hosting the World Cup would be the ultimate propaganda win for North Korea because it legitimizes the Kim regime and can be used to show how the world is groveling in awe of the Kim regime’s nuclear and ICBM programs which should be perfected by then:
In this photo provided by South Korean presidential office Cheong Wa Dae, South Korean President Moon Jae-in (R) poses with FIFA President Gianni Infantino after their meeting on June 12, 2017. (Yonhap)
South Korea will face roadblocks in its bid to bring the world’s greatest football competition to Northeast Asia.
In his meeting with FIFA chief Gianni Infantino on Monday, President Moon Jae-in suggested forming a regional bloc with communist North Korea and other Northeast Asian countries to jointly host the FIFA World Cup in 2030.
According to the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae, Infantino said there will likely be “difficulties,” but also said such a vision itself “can be a very powerful message.” [Yonhap]
You can read more at the link.
Another setback for President Moon’s Sunshine 2.0:
This file photo, taken on Feb. 20, 2014, shows the reunions of family members separated by the 1950-53 Korean War held at Mount Kumgang in North Korea. (Yonhap)
North Korea rejected South Korean lawmakers’ call to hold a reunion of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War, saying Wednesday there can “never be any kind of humanitarian cooperation” between the two countries unless 13 North Koreans “detained” in the South are returned.
They include a group of 12 workers from a restaurant in China run by the North Korean government, whom Seoul says defected voluntarily. Pyongyang claims they were kidnapped by South Korea’s spy agency.
The North also wants a 13th citizen, Kim Ryon-hui, a vocal Kim Jung-un endorser here who wishes to go back home. She left her home in Pyongyang to seek advanced medical treatment in China for a liver illness. She asserts to have been deceived by a Chinese broker in 2011, who told her she could make a fortune in the South and then return to China or North Korea. [Joong Ang Ilbo]
You can read more at the link.