Mgr Lazarus You sees positive and hopeful signs of dialogue. Military communication lines are reopened. Railway links could be the cornerstone for Northeast Asian peace and prosperity. US Secretary Mike Pompeo could return to North Korea in the coming days.
Seoul (AsiaNews) – South Korean President Moon Jae-in led celebrations yesterday (15 August) to mark the country’s Liberation Day. In his address, he called among other things for the establishment of road and rail links between the two Koreas by the end of the year.
On the same day, which marks the end of Japanese occupation 73 years ago, North and South Korea also restored the military communication line on the eastern part of the peninsula, completing a process that had started on the western part.
In his address to the nation, Moon pitched a drive for peace, calling for railway, energy and economic cooperation with the North. He said that "true liberation" can only be achieved when the two countries establish a lasting peace and economic community.
For the South Korean president, this would be the cornerstone for Northeast Asian peace and prosperity along the lines of the European Coal and Steel Community, the forerunner of the European Union. This vision includes the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and Mongolia.
Moon also noted that inter-Korean economic cooperation could really start only after the complete denuclearisation of the North.
"Negotiations between the two Koreas are not easy,” said Mgr Lazarus You Heung-sik, bishop of Daejon, “but they are moving forward and that is a very positive thing.”
“Next week,” the prelate noted, “the Asian Games open with the two Koreas fielding joint-teams in a few disciplines. Later, separated families will meet, and our president and Kim Jong-un will hold a summit in September. All this is the result of dialogue, of ongoing negotiations, and that makes us hope."
Some signs of optimism can also be seen in US-North Korea relations. Sources in Seoul report that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo might soon visit North Korea, perhaps even next week.