03/21/2018, 18.45
KOREA
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Pyongyang positive on dialogue with Seoul with confidence based on strength

State media deny North Korea is acting under the pressure of sanctions. “Such rubbish” like from “a dog barking at the moon”. An intra-Korean summit is set for next month. US President Donald Trump will meet Kim in late May.

Pyongyang (AsiaNews/Agencies) – North Korea’s recent moves to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula are evidence of its confidence and national strength, not a sign of weakness, this according to its state-run media.

As such this raises hope that South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s plan for a three-way summit between North Korea, South Korea and the United States might take place.

After a hectic diplomatic activity between Asia, Europe and the United States, the South Korean leader is preparing for talks next month with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. Even US President Donald Trump said he would meet Kim in late May.

“A North Korea-US summit would be a historic event in itself following an inter-Korean summit,” Moon said today after a preparatory meeting for the inter-Korean summit. “Depending on the location, it could be even more dramatic. And depending on progress, it may lead to a three-way summit between the South, North and the United States,” he added.

North Korean sources have not reported any public engagement by Kim since 6 March, when he met with a South Korean delegation. However, a commentary from the state-run KCNA news agency late Tuesday rejected suggestions that sanctions had forced it to the negotiating table.

The KCNA commentary did not directly mention the summits but mentioned the “dramatic atmosphere for reconciliation” with the South and “a sign of change” with the US.

It added that Pyongyang’s overtures came from a position of strength, not weakness, even if it faces intense international pressure as well as biting economic sanctions over its nuclear weapons programme.

“The dialogue peace offensive of the DPRK is an expression of self-confidence as it has acquired everything it desires,” the agency said, using the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

It slammed hawks in Washington, Seoul and Tokyo for questioning the sincerity and motivation behind the North’s willingness to step back from the brink.

“Such rubbish as ‘result of sanctions and pressure’ . . . spread by hostile forces is just as meaningless as a dog barking at the moon,” it said, urging “prudence” for all parties involved.

Meanwhile, South Korea and the United States announced Tuesday a plan to hold annual joint military exercises on 23 March and 1st April.

The exercises are usually held in February and March, but this year, the two countries agreed to postpone them until after PyeongChang Olympics and Paralympics and make them shorter.

Although they fit in with those of the past, some expect the manoeuvres take a low profile to avoid undermining the rapprochement with North Korea.

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