Moon administration moves into high gear to mediate 2nd N. Korea-US summit

Posted on : 2019-01-21 17:18 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
2nd summit could pave way for Kim Jong-un’s visit to Seoul
The Blue House
The Blue House

With a second summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un likely to take place at the end of February, the South Korean government under President Moon Jae-in, which has been acting as a mediator in the North Korea-US negotiations, is moving into action.

Considering that North Korea and the US have been unable to narrow their differences about the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the corresponding measures that the US would take, the successful hosting of a second summit could pave the way for Kim to visit Seoul, as he and Moon agreed during their Pyongyang summit in Sept. 2018, and could lead to rapid developments on the Korean Peninsula.

The Blue House announced that it welcomed North Korea and the US’ agreement on Jan. 19 to hold a second summit at the end of February and promised to do everything it could to ensure the summit’s success.

Blue House Spokesperson Kim Eui-kyum made these remarks during a press briefing on Saturday held immediately after the agreement to hold a summit was announced. “We hope that this North Korea-US summit will be a definite turning point toward lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula,” Kim said in the government’s official position statement.

Turning point to create new momentum for Korean Peninsula peace process

Even though the timing, location and agenda of the second North Korea-US summit haven’t been specifically announced, the Blue House believes that this summit will be a turning point that can create new momentum for the peace process on the Korean Peninsula, which has been on hold since their first summit in Singapore in June 2018.

The Blue House’s confidence is based on the fact that North Korea and the US have gone ahead and confirmed the end of February as the timing for the summit despite their disagreement about denuclearization and the corresponding measures and on the fact that working-level negotiations between North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui and US State Department Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun are continuing in Stockholm, Sweden, with the goal of preparing for the summit and narrowing their disagreement.

There seems to be hope at the Blue House that the success of the second North Korea-US summit will lead to Kim visiting Seoul. Leading up to the first summit in Singapore last year, the Blue House had pinned its hopes on the idea of Kim, Moon and Trump making an end-of-war declaration after the summit, but this time around it has adjusted its expectations to something more feasible.

“We’re hoping that the success of the North Korea-US summit at the end of March will lead to Chairman Kim paying a visit to Seoul,” said an official at the Blue House.

“After the second North Korea-US summit is held, I think it’ll be a little easier to arrange Chairman Kim’s visit to Seoul. In order to build a virtuous cycle in inter-Korean relations, I think that Chairman Kim and I will need to sit down together, in one form or another, after the summit takes place to discuss its outcome and its impact on developing inter-Korean relations,” Moon said during his New Year’s press conference on Jan. 10.

Though several newspapers have raised the possibility of South and North Korea jointly hosting a ceremony commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Mar. 1 Movement with both Kim and Moon in attendance, this appears unlikely considering that the second North Korea-US summit is supposed to take place at the end of February.

By Kim Bo-hyeop, staff reporter

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