Published: Tue, October 16, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Two Koreas, U.N. Command hold first talks on disarming border

Two Koreas, U.N. Command hold first talks on disarming border

France does not have any diplomatic relations with North Korea, and is one of the only two European Union countries to have cut ties with the state over its nuclear programme and human rights record. The South Korean press corps covering the ministry issued a statement denouncing it for a "grave infringement of media freedoms".

A Red Cross meeting has been scheduled for November at the North's Mount Kumgang resort to discuss issues pertaining to the reunion of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War, including renovation work for a building within the resort where many reunions were held in the past.

South Korea's Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon, left, shakes hands with his North Korean counterpart Ri Son-gwon at the Peace House in Panmunjom Monday.

Lim Eul-chul, an expert on the North Korean economy at South Korea's Kyungnam University, said the tight timeline for the groundbreaking ceremony reflects Pyongyang's determination to make rapid progress on talks over denuclearization.

South Korea's Unification Ministry also said Monday after high-level talks that the rivals agreed to soon hold general-level military talks to discuss reducing border tensions and setting up a joint military committee that's meant to maintain communication and avoid crises and accidental clashes.

The Koreas also agreed to use their newly opened liaison office in the North Korean border town of Kaesong to host talks between sports officials in late October to discuss plans to send combined teams to the 2020 Summer Olympics and to make a push to co-host the 2032 Summer Games.

The agreement on transport links came during talks in the border village of Panmunjom aimed at following up on the third summit this year between South Korea's President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, last month.

Trump has encouraged U.S. allies to maintain sanctions on North Korea until it denuclearizes to maintain a campaign of pressure against Kim's government.

At the Singapore summit in June, Kim and US President Donald Trump vowed to take steps towards complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula in return for the gradual lifting of US sanctions.

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He was not bullying or dismissive in his responses to veteran reporter Lesley Stahl , but he was firm, confident, and engaged. That saw Stahl exclaiming " this is amazing " and accusing Trump of "diverting the whole Russian Federation thing".

The dovish Moon has long favoured engagement with the North, which is subject to multiple UN Security Council sanctions over its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

However, South Korea's enthusiasm for engagement with its rival appears to have created discomfort with ally United States amid growing concerns that the North is lagging behind its supposed promise to denuclearize.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed "discontent" over that agreement, South Korea's foreign minister Kang Kyung-wha said last week.

In August, a plan for an inspection by the two Koreas for the rail project was scrapped after the United Nations Command (UNC), which overlaps with USA forces in the South and oversees affairs in the DMZ, rejected the passage of a test train carrying fuel, military sources said.

South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon said it was meaningful that the Koreas are getting faster in reaching agreements as their diplomacy gains traction.

"It was an unacceptable decision they made unilaterally, which limits my activity as a journalist".

"Depending on how this evolves. we will envisage on the one hand changes in terms of our bilateral diplomatic relations and on the other hand changes to sanctions policy", Macron said.

Battulga also congratulated Kim on the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Pyongyang and Ulaanbaatar and expressed his hope to receive the North Korean leader in Mongolia.

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