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South Korea urges North to end weapons development

28 June 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in will hold their first face-to-face meeting in Washington, DC from June 29-30.

In return, North Korea warned the USA about its recent military drills with South Korea as well as its missile defense system, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD), installed in South Korea in April.

There have been misgivings about the first tete-a-tete between Moon and Trump, who is pushing for tougher sanctions against Pyongyang to curb its nuclear ambitions and whose administration has said military action was a possibility.

Chang, who is leading the North Korea delegation at the Taekwondo event in a city two hours south of Seoul, also ruled out the possibility of using venues in the North to co-host the February 9-25 Winter Games and dismissed the notion that a unified team would help improve ties by saying: "The Olympics should not be used for a political aim". North Korea no doubt wants to use the nuclear program as leverage in talks. Moon can begin by bringing up the amount of USA -based jobs and production that Korean companies and investment provide. Given that China controls about 90 percent of North Korea's foreign trade and also provides the country with vital aid, including shipments of subsidized fuel, the expectations seem reasonable.

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The South Korean president advocates a two-phased approach to the North's nuclear issue, with Pyongyang first freezing its nuclear and long-range missile tests in return for the scaling back of annual US-South Korea military exercises.

Third, the worldwide context is different. Additionally, Moon administration efforts to improve relations with China have been stymied by increasing pressure from Beijing to undermine the United States and abandon the THAAD deployment.

Prior to the election, Moon told reporters that the U.S. will need to consult with South Korea before it takes confrontational measures, and that "South Korea should be the owner of North Korean issues and take the lead in dealing with them", signifying a clash of leadership in this area. Moon and Trump are expected to have a candid discussion to resolve the North's growing nuclear and missile threats, Chung said. Moon is crafting his own approach to dealing with Kim, while Trump's behavior could hardly be undermining US influence more. Defense Secretary James Mattis has stated plainly that North Korea is a clear and present danger to the world.

SEOUL-As South Korean president, Park Geun-hye approved a covert plan to oust North Korean leader Kim Jong Un-including assassination-and to cover Seoul's tracks, a source said. Moon's pragmatic style thus far is a stark contrast to that of his populist political mentor Roh Moo-hyun.

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To settle the dispute, South Korea's Vice Minister of National Defense Seo Joo-seok said, "Government measures would actively reflect" residential concerns about the environmental impact of THAAD, local newspaper Maeil Business reported.

The rally's organizer put the number of participants at 3,000.

The South had also suggested letting North Korea host some of the skiing events. But Mr Trump could come to a different conclusion.

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South Korea urges North to end weapons development