Thursday, May 3, 2018

Diplomacy Brief: End to the Korean War?

Dennis Meaney,; original article contains links

uncaptioned image from article
On Friday, April 27th, North Korea’s Kim Jung Un and South Korea’s Moon Jae-in met in a historic summit at Panmunjom, a village in the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). This meeting marked the first time a North Korean leader visited south of the demarcation line between the two Koreas. The recent developments between the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea represent historic breakthroughs in the relationship between the two countries. In the wake of their summit meeting, North Korea’s Kim Jung-Un and South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in announced their ambitious goals of complete denuclearization and negotiating an official end to the Korean War (1950-1953) with the United States. This summit is the latest in a series of meetings between North and South Korea, however it is only the third time since the end of the Korean War that the leaders of the two countries have hosted direct talks. The summit was a theater-filled event that truly embracedpublic diplomacy [JB emphasis], quite different from the usual private setting of such high-level summits. It involved smiles, handshakes, and embraces between the two Korean leaders, and there was even a joke about the South Korean president waking up early due to North Korean missile tests. Part of the summit was broad-casted live and the two leaders shared many memorable moments, such as each leader stepping in the other’s country as they embraced at the demarcation line, planting a tree together in the DMZ, and posing for pictures together. ...

In an article for Foreign Policy titled, “Pyongyang Is Playing Washington and Seoul,” Michael J. Green, senior vice president for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, argues that the summit served as an opportunity for North Korea to reiterate its status as a nuclear weapons state and to generate support for sanctions relief. While the summit was filled with public diplomacy [JB emphasis]and pageantry “aimed at South Koreans fearful of a U.S. attack on North Korea,” it lacked any meaningful commitment to denuclearization from North Korea. ...

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