Tue, Feb 12, 2019 - Page 9 News List

South hopeful, but nuke talks crucial for Korean ties

By Kim Tong-Hyung  /  AP, SEOUL

However, tough sanctions have limited what they can do, with Washington insisting on keeping up economic pressure until North Korea takes stronger steps toward irreversibly and verifiably relinquishing its nuclear weapons.

Some in South Korea hope that Kim will be ready to make meaningful concessions in Vietnam that Trump could then respond to by partially easing the sanctions on the North to allow more inter-Korean cooperation.

One potential deal could see North Korea agreeing to dismantle key parts of its Nyongbyon nuclear complex, freeze its nuclear program and allow in inspectors in exchange for the US granting sanctions exemptions for inter-Korean activities at Kaesong and Diamond Mountain, said Koh Yu-hwan, a North Korea expert at Seoul’s Dongguk University.

Ahead of his visit to the Koreas, Bigeun early this month said that Kim had committed to “the dismantlement and destruction of North Korea’s plutonium and uranium enrichment facilities” during a September last year summit with Moon and at a meeting with the US secretary of state in October.

“In Singapore, Trump and Kim were chased by time and they couldn’t even get to the main subject,” said Koh, who is also a policy adviser to Moon. “This time they will at least have to agree on what the early steps of the denuclearization process would be. They can’t let another summit be called a failure.”

Shin Beomchul, a senior analyst at Seoul’s Asan Institute for Policy Studies, said a key point of the summit would be whether North Korea agrees to accept inspectors to verify its activities to dismantle its nuclear facilities.

“If both sides agree on the declaration, verification and dismantling of the Nyongbyon nuclear facility, we can say that it was a successful summit,” Shin said.

There is also speculation about a possible four-way meeting, also including Moon and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), to declare a formal end to the Korean War, which stopped with an armistice and left the peninsula still technically at war.

However, Washington has insisted that North Korea needs to first take more concrete steps toward denuclearization.

This story has been viewed 1732 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top