Waiting for Kim Jong-un to travel south, Moon mediates with the US
The South Korean president announced the seventh meeting with Trump, on 11 April. In addition to diplomatic efforts for peace, Seoul plans exchange and cooperation projects. This year, 1,000 families divided by war will be able to exchange video messages. Intelligence reports indicate that Pyongyang has resumed its missile and nuclear programmes.
Seoul (AsiaNews) – South Korea will attempt to organise the first visit to Seoul by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for a summit with President Moon Jae-in in order to improve cross-border relations and breathe new life into the process of denuclearisation.
After the failure of the US-North Korea summit in Hanoi, South Korea has not stopped its mediation efforts, announcing the seventh meeting between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Trump, scheduled for 11 April in the US capital.
Meanwhile, intelligence reports indicate that North Korea has almost completed restoration work on its long-range rocket launch site at Dongchang-ri, on the north-western coast of the Korean Peninsula.
Last year, Seoul had announced a five-year plan to achieve complete denuclearisation of the peninsula, lasting peace and mutual trust with Pyongyang.
In addition to Kim’s possible visit, South Korea’s Unification Ministry announced today that its officials are working to establishing regular inter-Korean meetings, a way deemed indispensable for resolving disagreements between the two countries.
In addition to its diplomatic efforts, Seoul plans to support exchange and cooperation projects such as the Kaesong industrial complex and accommodation facilities on Mount Kumgang (along the east coast of the Korean peninsula).
Seoul wants to restart the two initiatives in the hope that they will encourage Pyongyang to return to the negotiating table.
Washington is opposed because it fears that they could undermine economic sanctions against Pyongyang at a time when little progress has been made in denuclearisation talks.
The Unification ministry has tried to be reassuring. The fate of the two projects is linked to the "close consultation" with the international community.
On the humanitarian front, the Moon administration is working on regularising reunions between members of families separated by the Korean War (1950-1953).
Recently, Seoul has secured a waiver of sanctions. The Unification Ministry announced that this year around 1,000 families will be able to exchange video messages.
According to some analysts, the latest revelations from South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) that Pyongyang had almost completed the restoration of the Sohae satellite launching site in Dongchang-ri will weigh on the future of the Korean peace process.
In the latest statement to parliament, the NIS said that Pyongyang started work in February before the Hanoi summit.
Following agreements made with the US at the historic Trump-Kim summit in Singapore, the North had dismantled part of the site.
Lastly, the NIS noted that the North Korean regime seems to be keeping its uranium enrichment plant at the Yongbyon complex (north of the capital) in "normal operation" after stopping the five mega-watt reactor operations at the end of 2018.