Published: Tue, September 18, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Moon Jae-in lands in North Korea with agenda - ‘irreversible, permanent peace’

Moon Jae-in lands in North Korea with agenda - ‘irreversible, permanent peace’

South Korea's president and the North's leader Kim Jong Un drove through the streets of Pyongyang together past thousands of cheering citizens Tuesday ahead of a summit where Moon Jae-in will seek to reboot stalled denuclearisation talks between North Korea and the United States.

The reception appears to be a sign that Mr Kim intends to showcase a warm personal relationship with Mr Moon.

Kim welcomed his visitor at Pyongyang's global airport - where he had supervised missile launches a year ago as tensions mounted - the two leaders of the divided Korean Peninsula embracing after Moon walked down the steps of his aircraft.

"If North Korea-U.S. dialogue is restarted after this visit, it would have much significance in itself", Moon said before his departure.

Kim is seeking to get security guarantees and a peace agreement formally ending the 1950-53 Korean War.

Moon is hoping to engineer a proposal that combines a framework for the North's denuclearization and a joint declaration ending the Korean War, Seoul officials said.

The DPRK officials included Kim Yo Jong, the younger sister of the DPRK leader and the first vice department director of the Central Committee of the ruling Worker's Party of Korea (WPK).

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Moon is hoping to salvage the nuclear talks between the USA and the north. Bloomberg's Jihye Lee reports on "Bloomberg Markets: Asia".

Prior to Moon's landing, some 90 South Korean officials arrived in Pyongyang on Sunday to participate in the historic summit.

A priority on the agenda is to ease military tensions on the Korean Peninsula, Im Jong-seok, the South Korean presidential office's chief of staff, said at a press conference Monday.

Those could include an agreement to pull back some guard posts at the heavily mined frontline, disarm an area of the border near the shared village of Panmunjom and reduce the chance of clashes along their shared maritime boundary.

But National Security Adviser John Bolton said: "President Trump can't make the North Koreans walk through the door he's holding open".

"There are many expectations for great progress on the issue at the summit, but (the possibility) is very limited", he said.

"I need you to understand the military is pushing the initiative to the extent that it would not undermine defense posture", Defense Minister nominee Gen. Jeong Kyeong-doo told lawmakers Monday during his confirmation hearing.

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The outcome of this summit is being watched closely by the US.

"This is a very unpopular plan in Washington and among general foreign policy experts in the United States because it puts the alliance's future at risk in exchange for good faith from North Korea", said Van Jackson, a professor of global relations at Victoria University of Wellington.

The guesthouse was also used by two former South Korean presidents during their own summits with Kim's father, Kim Jong Il, in 2000 and 2007.

But hit a roadblock in the summit's wake, with Kim touting steps the North has taken, including the dismantling of nuclear and rocket-engine testing sites, and the White House repeatedly stressing that Pyongyang must first take verifiable steps to dismantle its nuclear arsenal before any further concessions.

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. (Yonhap) Im Jong-seok, President Moon Jae-in's chief of staff, announces the list of the entourage for Moon's trip to Pyongyang at Cheong Wa Dae on September 16, 2018.

"After all, North Korea's dictatorship is far more able to ignore such an agreement than constitutional democracies".

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