Koreas, US-led UN Command discuss disarming border area

17 October, 2018, 17:50 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Two Koreas agree to push ahead with road, rail links despite sanctions

The agreements come amid unease in Washington over the speed of inter-Korean engagement.

North Korea and the rich, democratic South are technically still at war because the Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty. This drew a fierce reaction from other journalists, who accused the ministry of infringing media freedoms and discriminating against North Korea-born citizens.

The radical concept, which would require an unprecedented level of cooperation and mutual trust on the long-divided Korean peninsula, was included in a joint statement issued after a September summit between the North's leader Kim Jong Un and the South's President Moon Jae-in in Pyongyang. But there has since been a surprising peace initiative, with three inter-Korean summits and a June meeting in Singapore between Trump and Kim.

Trump said on Tuesday his second summit with Kim would be held after the elections slated for November 6.

Washington says sanctions must remain in place until North Korea gives up its nuclear weapons and is concerned that the North-South thaw may be outpacing practical progress in denuclearisation.

Mr. Moon has said the military agreement is an important trust-building step that will reduce border tension and create diplomatic space without negatively impacting the South's defense readiness.

The February Games saw athletes from the two Koreas march together at the opening ceremony behind a unification flag showing an undivided peninsula, and the first unified Olympic team, in women's ice hockey.

Since early this year, Seoul has applied for a welter of sanctions exemptions - to engage in exchanges of people and provide fuel and materials to North Korea during the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, for reunions of families separated by the Korean War, and for a cross-border military hotline.

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South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon has expressed regret over a decision to block a North Korean defector-turned reporter from covering high-level talks between the Koreas at a border village.

At the summit, the third this year between Mr Moon and Mr Kim, the two leaders committed to reviving economic co-operation when possible, voicing optimism that worldwide sanctions could end and allow such activity, and holding a groundbreaking ceremony by the end of the year on the project to connect their roads and railways.

"The improvement of relations between North and South Korea can not advance separately from resolving North Korea's nuclear program, '" a spokesperson for the State Department said in response to a Yonhap query.

While North Korea's economy has been impoverished for decades, the global community is hungry for news about the impact of the latest round of United Nations sanctions.

The South Korean president is on a four day visit to France, including a Monday summit with French President Emmanuel Macron.

"I'm devastated", Kim Myong-sung of the Chosun Ilbo, a conservative South Korean newspaper, told Reuters, adding that he had been told of the decision just before he was due to depart for the DMZ.

"They discussed practical issues regarding demilitarisation steps to be conducted in the future", the South Korean ministry said in a statement.

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