06/13/2018, 14.29
KOREA – UNITED STATES

Korea, doubts and hopes after the agreement between Trump and Kim

The world is divided over yesterday’s agreement. Critics condemn it for the absence of a timetable for denuclearisation and the decision to suspend joint US-South Korea exercises. North Korean media celebrate Kim's victory. In South Korea, the corporate sector is happy. Card Yeom is praying for quick implementation for everyone’s sake. State visits and meetings between separated families are in store for the future. For the Korea Church, people want “peace”.

Seoul (AsiaNews/Agencies) – It is still early to talk about a Nobel Peace Prize for Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump, this according to some experts reacting to some politicians and commentators who demand the prestigious prize be awarded to the two leaders following yesterday’s agreement.

A day after the Singapore meeting, the world is divided between optimists and sceptics. Critics are dismayed at two results of the summit: the absence of a timetable for denuclearisation, including the failure to achieve "complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement" (CVID) of North Korea’s nuclear programme, and Trump’s decision to suspend joint war games with South Korea.

The latter has especially shocked US and South Korean security experts who point out that the exercises are "defensive" and a key point of the US-South Korea alliance, as well as a necessity to ensure that the two military are ready for a North Korean attack.

In the United States, this decision has sparked bipartisan criticism. In South Korea, people were taken by surprise by the announcement, but then warmed up to the possibility that stopping the drill might be "necessary" to give diplomacy a chance.

Conversely, Japan announced that it was not going to lower its guard. Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera stressed that US-South Korean exercises, together with the American presence in the peninsula, are "vital to security in East Asia".

In North Korea, media celebrated the agreement, calling it a victory for the country and its leader Kim Jong-un.

In South Korea, the corporate sector is also happy about the summit, especially the Hyundai group, which has already invested US$ 1.25 billion in North Korea.

"This international green light, plus consolidated domestic support, will accelerate Seoul's engagement of Pyongyang. Beyond sports and cultural diplomacy, further economic cooperation can be expected," said Leif-Eric Easley, a professor of international studies at Ewha University in Seoul.

Despite criticism and doubts, the agreement has generated hopes and expectations for a “just peace” among Koreans, this according to Mgr Lazarus You Heung-sik. Indeed, the Catholic Church of Korea has added its own hope to the chorus of opinions, be they positive or negative.

Card Andrew Yeom Soo-jung, archbishop of Seoul, yesterday led the 1,168th prayer Mass for the reunification of the two Koreas (celebrated every Tuesday since March 1995).

In his homily, the prelate expressed the wish that "the agreement can be realised quickly for the common good, not only for the Korean people but also for all the peoples of the world."

Meanwhile, state visits by Kim and Trump in their respective capitals are a possibility when the right times come.

Of all the stakeholders, families separated by the 1950-53 war are the most eager to see results. The next meeting should be held on 15 August.

To this end, South Korea plans check out how many of the 57,000 registered families are still alive.

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