Seoul, Washington to Hold Dialogue on Inter-Korean Relations

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have exchanged views today on the situation on the Korean peninsula and the recent high-level meetings in Panmunjom.

According to the South Korean Foreign Office, the two sides discussed by telephone the results of the cross-border talks, which ended with the agreement of an inter-Korean presidential summit next September in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

Pompeo expressed his appreciation for Minister Kang's explanation and both agreed to cooperate closely in the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and the establishment of a lasting peace regime, the ministry said in a press release.

Seoul and Pyongyang have scheduled the September summit amidst growing speculation about a perceived stagnation in the negotiations.

South Korea supports Washington's position of maintaining all diplomatic and economic pressure on the DPRK until Pyongyang takes what they consider to be concrete steps towards complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization.

The North Korean foreign ministry referred to the suspension of nuclear testing and ballistic missile launches, as well as the elimination of the nuclear test site, as effective measures aimed at achieving mutual trust.

On the other hand, the United States has reiterated that it is too early to talk about an official statement on the end of the Korean War (1950-53), one of the main requests of the DPRK to move forward on the agreed issues.

Analysts consider that as part of the agenda of Presidents Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un in their third face-to-face meeting, it is to address the permanent peace treaty which will replace the armistice signed in 1953 and which keeps the Korean peninsula technically at war.

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Moon-Trump: Mistrust

It’s possible that when these lines come out, US President Donald Trump has already arrived in South Korea, as part of his Asian tour, which started in Japan and should end in China.

Perhaps one could figure out South Korea is on the paper the least disturbing country for the US head of state, but I do not think so, because President Moon Jae-in has been rebellious before his American counterpart, who has had to resort to his own military pressures and Seoul’s Main Staff to prevent the South Korean leader from carrying out his long-standing desire of talks with the authorities of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (Spanish acronym RPDC), confident, as he has said, it is the only way the peninsula is not destroyed by a nuclear annihilation.

Moon has been clear and sincere with Trump, but the latter downplays the consequent reasons of a head of state who was actually elected by a vast popular majority in the early elections summoned after the removal of the previous president, because of proven corruption cases and abuse of power.

Trump not only almost ignored Moon, when he visited Washington and said he was in favor of a dialogue with Pyongyang, but also made derogatory comments about his South Korean counterpart on a phone conversation with Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, for his stance before the DPRK.

"Trump underestimated the President of South Korea, Moon Jae-in, calling him “beggar”, for insisting in his calls for dialogue with North Korea”, revealed Hankyoreh newspaper, which is edited in Tokyo.

Quoting Japanese television network Fuji TV, the newspaper explained the US president called his South Korean counterpart like that during a phone call with Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe, hours later that North Korea launched a missile that passed through Japanese airspace.

Moon “is acting like a beggar”, said Trump to Abe to state his dissatisfaction with Seoul, for its position before the nuclear weapons tests of Pyongyang, said the Japanese daily, besides highlighting that the US head of state asked his partner “not to tell anyone about the need for military pressure on North Korea.”

But such pressure, as one can assume when it is about Democratic Korea, made that country remark it would defend its nuclear development “in the face of the hostilities of U.S. and its puppets.”

Trump has said he’s “100% with Shinzo”, and highlighted that Tokyo should help Washington in case “it is attacked by Pyongyang”, and indirectly confirmed that Washington is pressing Seoul, geared at taking war actions against its northern neighbor; as many countries believe that keeping the pressures against North Korea would lead to a military catastrophe.

Shortly before the American head of state started his Asian tour, Moon has asserted that a war in the Korean Peninsula is something that will never happen again, and claimed that United States would not undertake any military action against the North without the consent of the South. In addition, he thinks that Trump’s statements sought to increase pressure on Pyongyang and did not indicate an imminent attack.

Of course, the South Korean authorities do not trust these statements, because of the controversial personality of Trump, and reiterated that their tests are based on their right for self-defense before the frequent joint military exercises of Washington and Seoul in the peninsula.


Tensions with Pyongyang promise to lead the first meeting between Trump and Moon in Seoul, where thousands of people rallied against the presence of the US magnate and demanded a peace policy toward the North. The protesters also rejected the insistence of the US president to renegotiate the trade deal with South Korea, partly due to his concerns about alleged imbalances in the steel and car exchange.

"We’re renegotiating a trade deal with South Korea right now, and hope it would be equitable. It will be a fair deal for both parties. It has been a tough deal for the United States”, Trump said.

The US president, who slammed during his electoral campaign the trade deal inked by his predecessor Barack Obama, first referred to its renegotiation and claimed he would seek a “new deal”.

Trump’s statement surprised members of the South Korean government and business leaders in Seoul, who did not expect the possibility of renegotiation to be on the table in the meeting, the Wall Street Journal said today.

Months earlier, in Washington, Moon had only talked about bilateral ties: “We will promote economic growth and job creation to ensure our peoples enjoy greater mutual benefits through the collective efforts we have committed to make.”

Standing by his side, Trump had just slammed the trade deal, popularly known as Korus FTA, by denouncing that since its entry into effect to 2016, the US trade deficit with South Korea had increased by over $11 billion”, nearing $28 billion.

US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross had previously stated that the main cause of the trade imbalance is “the car trade”, that is mainly carried out “based on South Korean standards”, and added there is another problem with the trade of “steel” products” from South Korea to the United States, because part of them come from China and are sold below their market price”.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff

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N. Korea missile tests: UNSC threatens Pyongyang with sanctions, says launches must stop

The UN Security Council has warned it may hit North Korea with a new round of sanctions in response to its latest missile launches, which it blamed for stirring up regional tension, and urged Pyongyang to stop its nuclear and ballistic missile activity.

In the wake of North Korea’s medium-range missile launch into the Sea of Japan on Saturday, the UNSC slammed the self-isolated country for “highly destabilizing behavior and flagrant and provocative defiance” it displays by turning a blind eye to multiple UN resolutions expressly prohibiting it from attempting such actions.

© Damir Sagolj

Apart from reiterating its commitment to comply with all restrictive measures imposed on North Korea under previous resolutions, the Council hinted it might look at the possibility to tighten the grip on the state’s economy, which is already suffering under a heavy burden of international sanctions.

“The members of the Security Council agreed that the Security Council would continue to closely monitor the situation and take further significant measures including sanctions, in line with the Council’s previously expressed determination,” the statement read.

READ MORE: There can be only political solutions on the Korean peninsula

It went on to call on Pyongyang to phase out its nuclear and missile program and enforce a total ban on nuclear and missile tests, arguing that the development of missile and nuclear weapons is being carried out by Pyongyang at the expense of ordinary people, who “have great unmet need.”

Earlier, the French ambassador to the UN, Francois Delattre, said that the UNSC is looking into a possible expansion of sanctions, promising a “strong” and “swift” retaliation to North Korea’s latest breach of international law.

@RT_com 'Latest North Korean missile launch didn’t pose any threat to Russia' - Defense Ministry

Whether the threats will materialize into a new round of sanctions is likely to be decided Tuesday, when a closed-door UNSC meeting on North Korea is scheduled to take place.

The newest missile launch was claimed by North Korea as a successful test of a long-range strategic ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. However, the US military disputed the claim, arguing that the projectile was more likely a mid-range missile, than an intercontinental one.

The missile had reportedly covered a distance of 700 kilometers, with its altitude reported by some media outlets to be as high as 2,000 meters, before descending into the Sea of Japan, according to South Korean and Japanese militaries’ estimates.

State of paranoia?

Following the launch, one of the most vocal voices in the chorus of those denouncing North Korea and its leader Kin Jong-un was that of the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, who went as far as to suggest that Kim was “in a state of paranoia” and vowed that Washington would proceed with “tightening the screws” on the pariah state.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un © Damir Sagolj

In a separate statement, the White House labelled the North Korean weapons program “a flagrant menace for too long,” specifically mentioning an assumed displeasure felt in Moscow at the sight of the missile allegedly striking near its border.

"With the missile impacting so close to Russian soil, in fact – closer to Russia than to Japan – the President cannot imagine that Russia is pleased," the statement said.

The worrying report on the missile landing in the imminent proximity to the Russian border, some 60 miles (97 km) south of the Russian Far East city of Vladivostok, with over 1 million residents, was given by CNN, citing an unnamed US official. The map drawn by the channel shows the alleged point of impact as dangerously close to Russian territory.

The Russian Defense Ministry, however, dismissed the report, stressing that the missile did not pose a threat to Russia, and actually landed in “the central part of the Sea of Japan, some 500km from Russian territory. There are also some doubts about the missile reaching the altitude of 2,000 km (1,245 miles), with aviation expert Ron Bishop from Central Queensland University describing such a potent range non-typical and “a little bit of a stretch” rather than an accurate estimate while speaking to RT. The estimate has largely remained unchallenged in the mainstream media.

Weighing on the latest missile test while in Beijing on Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin urged all parties, including those whom he said are “intimidating” North Korea, to drop their alarmist rhetoric and stop saber-rattling, and instead focus on a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

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