Friday, 20 April, 2018

Top Security Advisers of S. Korea, US to Meet on Thursday

South Korea's President Moon Jae-in chats with Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc while posing for South Korean conservative heavyweight warns against “facade of peace” between two Koreas
Jerome Frank | 13 April, 2018, 01:37

Earlier this week, South Korean officials confirmed that Cho Yoon-Je, ambassador to the US, and Susan Thornton, acting USA assistant secretary of state for East Asia, have recently set up a channel of regular communication as part of their preparations for the April 27 summit between President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, as well as President Donald Trump's summit with Kim in May or June.

Christopher Hill, who negotiated with the North as head of the US delegation during the George W. Bush administration, said close coordination and cooperation between Seoul and Washington are critical when discussing security issues in particular.

However, according to a South Korean Foreign Ministry source, Kang did not take a stance of going along with Japan's call for maximum pressure.

Former U.S. officials are concerned that Seoul would get too far ahead in engaging Pyongyang at the inter-Korea summit and offer incentives such as economic and humanitarian aid and the easing of sanctions imposed against North Korea. North Korea acknowledged in 2002 that it had abducted 13 Japanese.

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono arrived in Seoul on Tuesday afternoon for a two-day visit. She emphasized the importance of maintaining the "momentum for dialogue as North Korea has declared it will not conduct any provocations while talks are ongoing". The islets are known as Takeshima in Japan and Dokdo in South Korea. -North summit will take place in May or early June.

"Denuclearization is, no doubt, going to be ... a USA angle", said William Brown, a former intelligence official who is now an adjunct lecturer at Georgetown University.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the joint declaration on Korea-Japan partnership in October 1998 issued by then-Korean President Kim Dae-jung and Japanese Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi to build a future-oriented relationship.

At a time of frenetic diplomatic activity in northeast Asia - the North's Kim Jong Un is due to meet with the leaders of both South Korea and the US - Japan has largely remained on the sidelines. It was the first visit by Japan's top diplomat since the two countries signed a deal on Japan's wartime sexual enslavement of Korean women at front-line brothels in December 2015.

He will then pay a courtesy call on President Moon Jae-in and also meet with National Intelligence Service Director Suh Hoon to be briefed on how Seoul is preparing for an inter-Korean summit slated for April 27.

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