Seoul seeks communication, lower military tension ahead of possible N.Korea summit

Monday, 12 Feb, 2018

An editorial in the Yomiuri Newspaper read: "What can not be overlooked is that Moon did not directly demand North Korea to abandon its nuclear development".

Secretary of Defense James Mattis says "there's no wedge" between the United States and South Korea, despite recent overtures between South Korea and North Korea.

"There is no daylight between the United States, the Republic of Korea and Japan on the need to continue to isolate North Korea economically and diplomatically until they abandon their nuclear and ballistic missile program", Pence said as he flew back to the United States.

Kim Yo-jong shook hands with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, cheered enthusiastically for a unified Korean team, and displayed a sense of humor in weekend meetings.

President Donald Trump and the North's leader Kim Jong Un have engaged in a series of personal insults.

Kim Yo Jong and the other North Korean officials were scheduled to depart for Pyongyang on the private jet of her brother, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, a day after they delivered his hopes for a summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in during a lunch at Seoul's presidential palace. "However, what we had to learn is that during the time this dialogue continued, North Korea has no intention whatsoever of abandoning its nuclear or missile development", Abe said in the speech.

Their final schedule in South Korea was joining Moon at a Seoul concert of a visiting North Korean art troupe, led by the head of the immensely popular Moranbong band, whose young female members are hand-picked by Kim Jong Un.

Speaking to the Washington Post aboard Air Force Two on his way home from the Winter Olympics in South Korea, Pence said Washington would keep up its "maximum pressure campaign" against Pyongyang but would be open to possible talks at the same time.

Pyongyang is believed to be maintaining its policy of pursuing weapons of mass destruction to make the United States accept the continuation of the country's hereditary regime.

A senior administration official aboard Pence's airplane also told reporters that South Korea and Japan "are solidly with our alliance and the need to continue and intensify economic sanctions".

Moon responded to the invitation by suggesting the two countries "should accomplish this by creating the right conditions", adding that talks between North Korea and the United States were also needed, and requested that North Korea be more active in talking with the USA, according to the spokesman.

It said the two sides held "a comprehensive discussion. on the inter-Korean relations and various issues on the Korean peninsula in an amicable atmosphere", but did not say whether the North's weapons programme was mentioned.

Moon joined Pence in the arena and sat next to him, turned around to greet Warmbier, according to a White House pool report.

It was an extremely rare move as the two nations remain technically at war after the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a cease-fire.

That stance, though, could complicate South Korea's relations with the United States. Moon ran for (and won) his country's highest office on a platform of diplomacy with the North. The North, meanwhile, insisted it has "no intention to meet the USA side". Pence did not interact with the North Koreans even though he was seated in the same box as them at Friday's opening ceremony.

"The proposal, as well as North Korea's presence at the Games, sends a signal that the North Koreans are ready to talk", Lankov said. Last week, a commentary published by the Korean Central News Agency called denuclearization "a wild dream that can never come true".