Kim ‘clears schedule’ for landmark visit to Seoul in late December

06-Dec-2018 Intellasia | The Telegraph | 6:00 AM Print This Post

Kim Jong-un has cleared his schedule for three days in late December and will use the time for a landmark visit to Seoul, according to a former South Korean government minister.

Jeong Se-hyun, the South’s former unification minister, said in a radio interview that he expects the North Korean leader to travel to Seoul on December 18, the day after the anniversary of the death of his father in 2011.

A three-day visit from the 18th would fall exactly three months after Moon Jae-in, the South Korean president, travelled to Pyongyang for a state visit and Jeong said that he believes that the two governments are already in secret talks to arrange the visit.

Moon has made no secret of his desire for his North Korean counterpart to visit Seoul and earlier this week said it is still a “possibility” before the end of the year.



The South Korean leader said that a state visit would accelerate efforts to rid the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons and lead to “great strides in the improvement of relations” between North Korea and the United States.

US President Donald Trump has said that he supports the idea of Kim travelling to Seoul for talks with Moon, a meeting that may well serve to pave the way for a second summit between the North Korean and US leaders in the early part of 2019.

Plans for the North Korean leader to travel to Seoulwhere he would be sure to face demonstrations from critics of his human rights record and those who believe he has no intention of scrapping the North’s nuclear weapons programmehave not been universally welcomed.

In an editorial on Wednesday, The Korea Herald said a visit by Kim to Seoul would be a “historic milestone”, but added, “What is also certain is that simply making history would be meaningless unless it contributes to the Korean peace process, including denuclearisation”.

Pointing out that previous “historic events in inter-Korean relations” had not resulted in peace on the peninsula. Instead, they had given the North time to improve its nuclear and missile technologies.

The Chosun Ilbo newspaper was in agreement, accusing the North of “pretending” to move forward on scrapping its nuclear arsenal.

“Kim probably hopes to sign another hollow joint statement like the one that came out of their first summit, while benefiting from more concessions”, the paper said in an editorial on Monday.

“Kim should only visit when that could contribute significantly to the scrapping of the North’s fissile materials, nuclear warheads and highly-enriched uranium”, it added.

“But there has to be an end to these publicity events and hollow joint statements of sunshine and apple pie.

“If Seoul keeps wasting time, the isolated state may end up becoming a nuclear power in plain sight. A crossroads will soon be reached that determines whether South Korea becomes a permanent hostage to North Korea’s nukes”.



Category: Korea

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