North, South Korea to hold talks as Winter Olympics helps break ice
09 January, 2018, 00:59 | Author: Edward Snyder
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley defended President Donald Trump's inflammatory nuclear button tweet that targeted North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un. When high-ranking North Korean figures visited Incheon to attend the Asian Games in October 2014, Chun was the South Korean government official sent to meet them.
When pressed on North and South Korea's impending Tuesday discussion, Haley responded, "I think they're going to talk about the Olympics".
This is an apparent reference to increased criticism by the conservative South Korean opposition, which argues that financing the North's athletes in PyeongChang could violate global sanctions imposed on the Kim Jong-un regime for its weapons programme.
The tentative rapprochement comes after the North's leader Kim Jong-Un warned in his New Year speech that he had a nuclear button on his desk, but also said Pyongyang could send a team to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. The annual event helps maintain stability on the Korean Peninsula.
According to Haley, combating North Korea's one-sided bargaining tactics will be the first step in achieving any progress.
The two Koreas have been separated by the world's most heavily militarized border since the Korean War ended in a stalemate in 1953. It's not my understanding that they're going to talk about anything further.
High-level officials from the two Koreas are slated to talk Tuesday about North Korea's possible participation in the Winter Olympics next month in South Korea, but it's uncertain whether longer-term relations between the two countries will be discussed.
Under the deal announced by the foreign ministers of the two countries, Japan gave 1 billion yen ($8.8 million) to a South Korean foundation to support Korean victims, while South Korea agreed to "make efforts" to remove a comfort women monument from in front of the Japanese embassy in Seoul.
This week the USA and South Korea agreed to suspend military exercises off the Korean Peninsula until after the Winter Olympic Games.
North Korea's pending participation in PyeongChang will do more than stifle ticket sales due to safety concerns and skyrocket ratings from a fascinated onslaught of viewers; it will provide a long-awaited climax to a narrative that's been escalating over the past half-century.
In spite of the back and forth between the leaders, US Secretary of Defense James Mattis said that the decision to suspend military exercises was reached for non-political reasons. North Korea's chief negotiator is Ri Son-gwon, chairman of North Korea's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland (CPRF), another veteran negotiator who has represented the North at a variety of military talks and both working-level and high-level talks with South Korea.
"I would love to see them take it beyond the Olympics", he said. Ri is known as a close associate of senior Workers' Party official Kim Yong Chol, who Seoul officials believe was behind two attacks in 2010 that killed 50 South Koreans.
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