K-pop stars in Pyongyang to attend inter-Korean summit

Clay Curtis
September 18, 2018

South Korea's President Moon Jae-in departed on Tuesday for his third summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, seeking to cement a breakthrough in faltering nuclear talks between Pyongyang and Washington.

As a military band played a rousing march, hundreds of North Koreans, lined up in neat rows and dressed in black suits and traditional hanboks, cheered and waved bouquets of artificial flowers, the North Korean flag and a white-and-blue flag with a map symbolising a unified Korean Peninsula.

"I believe the denuclearization issue can move forward at a rapid rate should the dialogue be resumed and the two leaders sit face to face with each other again", Moon told the meeting.

He's to become the first South Korean president to visit the North Korean capital in a decade.

Moon flew to Pyongyang Tuesday for the third inter-Korean summit with Kim.

In fact, Trump has made Moon the "chief negotiator" between himself and Kim.

According to the administration of Moon Jae-in, before flying to Pyongyang the President said he considers the restart of the dialogue between the DPRK and the USA to be the main objective of his visit.

The United States wants North Korea to take a meaningful step toward dismantling its nuclear weapons program, starting by declaring all its nuclear and missile facilities.

"What we need to this end is mutual trust".

Since taking office in May past year, Mr Moon has met Mr Kim twice at the Koreas' shared border village of Panmunjom.

Moon was accompanied by business tycoons including Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong and the vice chairman of Hyundai Motor, and is scheduled to visit key sites in Pyongyang with his delegation.

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Hundreds of people lined the tarmac at Pyongyang's global airport - where Kim supervised missile launches past year as tensions mounted - holding North Korean flags and unification ones showing an undivided peninsula, television pictures showed.

The South's own emblem was only visible on Moon's Boeing 747 aircraft.

Following the Singapore summit, North Korea met its pledges on the POW/MIA issue by returning 55 caskets of remains to the United States for further identification, in addition to unilateral (and reversible) shuttering of some nuclear and missile testing facilities.

While North Korea claims it has destroyed its main nuclear test site and stopped its missile tests, U.S. experts believe the country continues to develop weapons in secret.

Meanwhile, the United States and Russian Federation clashed Monday over enforcing U.N. sanctions against North Korea, with the USA ambassador accusing Moscow of "cheating" and Russia's envoy accusing Washington of "political ill-intent". This time, Mr Moon has to make real progress in persuading the North Koreans to make concrete steps to denuclearise, says BBC Seoul correspondent Laura Bicker.

Seoul said that could lay the groundwork for a formal declaration on the Korean War, when hostilities ended in an armistice rather than a peace treaty - implying that such an announcement was unlikely during the trip.

But U.S. officials remain "unenthusiastic" about declaring an end to the war without any substantial action toward denuclearisation from the North, Seoul officials said.

U.S. President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader held the first-ever U.S.

Agreeing on a timetable is a core task for Moon, as it would induce US action, said Lee Jung-chul, a professor at Soongsil University in Seoul.

Im said the summit will focus on three key agenda items: Improving and developing inter-Korean relations, mediating and promoting North Korea-U.S. denuclearization talks and reducing military tensions and "preventing armed conflict" between the two Koreas.

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