Putin invites Kim for urgent summit

Clay Curtis
August 18, 2018

Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was ready for a personal meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the KCNA news agency reported, citing a congratulatory telegram from the Russian leader on the occasion of the Liberation Day, marked by the two Koreas on Wednesday.

"Building a single economic community first by settling peace and freely traveling back and forth between the two Koreas will become genuine liberation for us", Moon said at the event in Seoul.

"There were mentions that if there are problems to be resolved by both sides, on humanitarian issues or for the development of inter-Korean relations, we should do it", the minister told reporters.

Cho said he also urged the North Koreans to accelerate the nuclear negotiations with the U.S. The North said it was making efforts to disarm, but Cho said there were no new details on those efforts.

"We must overcome division for our survival and prosperity", Moon said. This comes amid growing friction between the United States and North Korea.

While Washington welcomes recent North Korean gestures as signs of progress in the two countries' relations, its view is that the destruction of some weapons sites and returning some servicemen remains do not constitute steps towards ridding the nation of its nuclear weapons.

Whenever the summit is held, Moon will face a tricky balancing act: maintaining momentum for inter-Korean dialogue while also nudging Kim Jong Un to make progress in denuclearization talks with the USA, an ally of South Korea. "We can bring the day our entire people can live well together forward".

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"The reconnection of railroads and roads is the beginning of mutual prosperity on the Korean peninsula", Moon said.

The South Korean President said the plan would lead to the creation of an East Asian energy and economic community, as well as serve as a starting point for a regional peace and security regime. And joint economic projects, like the Kaesong industrial center which closed in 2016, could bring thousands of jobs to the North.

One of the major policy tasks of the Moon administration is the "New Economic Map" Initiative and to see the economic unification of the Korean peninsula.

Unified economic zones in the border regions could further expand economic growth for both Koreas.

The North says they were abducted by the South and should be returned, and has raised the possibility of the issue creating an obstacle to the reunion of some families divided by the 1950-53 Korean War, planned for next week. A string of North Korean weapons tests a year ago, during which Pyongyang claimed to have completed its nuclear arsenal, had many in Asia anxious that Washington and Pyongyang were on the brink of war.

Cheong said Seoul needs to "propose a practical roadmap on how to realize that goal".

The Korean War reached an armistice in 1953, but no peace treaty ever followed.

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