08/01/2018, 15.08
KOREA
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Korea, family reunification and summit: détente moves forward

The North and South leaders could meet in Indonesia, while the generals of both armies talk about how to demilitarize the areas currently under joint control. Families separated since the 1950 war will resume meetings. But peace displeases many powers, trying to undermine the constructive  - but difficult -  dialogue in progress.

 

Seoul (AsiaNews) - The leaders of the two Koreas could soon meet in Indonesia, where the athletes of both nations will compete under a single flag during the Asian Games in Jakarta-Palambang. 

Meanwhile, the military leaders of both armies are meeting in the "Peace Village" of Panmunjeon (the demilitarized zone on the border between the two Koreas) to discuss further military distension. Moreover, the families separated since the war of 1950-1953 will meet again next August 20 after three years of silence.

These are the positive steps taken in recent weeks by Seoul and Pyongyang, which seem to really want to move towards a reunification of the peninsula or at least towards a real military distension of the area. 

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has twice met North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, and a source from the "Blue House" (the residence of the president of the South) has confirmed that a third meeting "is being planned".

In all probability this will happen in Jakarta next August 18. The Korean governments have in fact authorized some national sports teams to compete together with the Asian Games under the "Korean Unification Flag", that depicts the borders of the peninsula in blue on a white background. 

The Indonesian president Widodo sent a personal envoy to Pyongyang to invite Kim, while the invitation to Moon was sent through diplomatic channels. It should be emphasized that Indonesia has maintained very positive relations with North Korea for decades.

Another important signal comes today from the "Peace Village" where some high-level military meetings are in progress. General Kim Do-gyun, who heads the southern delegation, explained before leaving: "We will do everything we can to agree on practical measures that can reduce military tension and build real trust between the two Koreas".

Finally, everything is ready for meetings between family members divided by the Korean War. The reunifications were halted in 2015 after the Pyongyang nuclear tests, and have a very high symbolic value. The next will be held from  August  20 to 27at the resorts on Mount Kumgang, one of the most popular North Korean tourist sites for Southerners.

All these signs demonstrate a real willingness to change the situation on the Korean peninsula, but the powers that are interested in keeping it divided are of concern: first of all the United States and Japan. An anonymous source in the US military told the Washington Post that North Korea would be secretly continuing to produce ballistic missiles. If confirmed, this news would be in open violation of the agreements signed during the historic meeting in Singapore between Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump.

Moreover, today some sources - once again anonymous - of internal Japanese security have declared that nuclear activity in the north of the Korean peninsula "is still traceable" and have asked the international community to "act quickly" to stop the "warlike plans" "By Kim Jong-un.

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