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2018 Inter-Korean Summit Followed by North Korea-United States Summit

The third inter-Korean summit is scheduled at the end of April, and a North Korea-United States (US) summit is also expected to take place for the first time in succesion.

2018 Inter-Korean Summit

News of the 2018 inter-Korean summit was initially reported on March 6th when the special delegation of the Republic of Korea (RoK) returned from North Korea’s capital, Pyongyang. The presidential special delegation to North Korea constituted of five people including the RoK’s national security adviser Chung Eui-yong, and National Information Director Seo Hoon. They discussed inter-Korean diplomacy issues with Kim Jong-un, Chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), and brought about seemingly positive results. Kim mentioned, “Nuclear weapons would be of no use to North Korea if a safe system can be established,” and showed his wishes to start a conversation with related countries. Kim agreed on an inter-Korean summit, promised to stop all tactical provocations, and agreed to a North Korea-US summit.

Kim Jong-un and Republic of Korea’s SpecialDelegation to North Korea/ OhmyNews

The 2018 inter-Korean summit is scheduled to take place at the end of April at the House of Peace, located on the South Korean side of the Joint Security Area (JSA). The House of Peace is a symbolic place as the ceasefire agreement of the Korean War was signed there in 1953. Diplomatic experts analyzed that the summit will develop on the basis of prior agreements made at previous inter- Korean summits which took place in 2000 and 2007. The first summit set key points of building an inter-Korean relationship, and the second summit succeeded in agreeing on a possibility of ending the Korean War. The denuclearization issues surrounding North Korea will be discussed at April’s summit and the methods by which to begin the process will be discussed at the North Korea-US summit in May.

North Korea-United States Summit

The special delegation conveyed the results of conversations that took place in Pyongyang to President Trump of the US on March 8th. The White House confirmed that a North Korea-US summit will take place by May. If successful, it will be the first time in history that leaders of the two countries meet. Bill Clinton, the 42nd president of the US, tried to meet North Korea’s first Chairman Kim Jong-il when he was in office, but it never happened and no efforts have been made since then.

Donald Trump on the North Korea-United StatesSummit/ Twitter

Although news of the North Korea-US summit caught the attention of many, the location, date, and topics of the summit are yet to be decided. Moreover, voices of opposition from US senators and Trump’s advisors were found throughout the media. The Republican Party’s Senator Gardner of Colorado spoke against the North Korea-US summit; he claimed that the meeting should not take place unless Kim presents proof of his intention to give up nuclear weapons. The Democratic Party’s Senator Warren of Massachusetts showed her concerns regarding the summit as well. Warren is worried about Trump going into negotiations unprepared and being taken advantage of; she told CNN that the US does not even have a permanent ambassador to South Korea.

Expansion to a Multilateral Talk

The inter-Korean relationship is complicated, and many countries such as China, Japan, and Russia are linked together in different ways. China had a role in the ceasefire agreement along with the US in 1953. China and the US will participate in conversations on denuclearization, ending the Korean War and maintaining peace in Korea. Japan, being a close ally to the US, can act as surveillance to nuclear experiments and give economical support during the process. Russia has shown support on denuclearization through conversation as well. The special delegation visited the US, Japan, China, and Russia for these reasons and received positive feedback in the first two weeks of March. Professor Yang Mu-jin of the University of North Korean Studies summarized the situation by stating, “The ideal situation of Korea would be having the US and China guaranteeing any treaty that results in, Japan and Russia supporting it, and the UN giving its approval.”

최영찬  cyc1117@naver.com

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