South Korea Standing Up to US With Leaders’ Summit With Pyongyang

© REUTERS / The Presidential Blue House/YonhapNorth Korean leader Kim Jong Un greets Chung Eui-yong, head of the presidential National Security Office, in Pyongyang, North Korea, March 6, 2018
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un greets Chung Eui-yong, head of the presidential National Security Office, in Pyongyang, North Korea, March 6, 2018 - Sputnik International
South Korean President Moon Jae In and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are slated to meet in person on April 27, marking the first time in 11 years that heads of state from the two Korean nations have met. Tim Shorrock, an author and investigative journalist, joined Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear Thursday to discuss the news.

For starters, Shorrock said that the meeting was a "sure thing," meaning that neither side will call it off. "Despite a lot of doubt expressed by officials and other pundits in the media, I think this meeting is going to happen," he said.

​"South Korea has traditionally followed the US' lead on foreign policy, but when it comes to inter-Korean relations, it has its own national interest at stake," and therefore may act more independently, the writer told Loud & Clear

Moon, in fact, campaigned on improving ties with Pyongyang and frequently questioned the need for the US' deployment of missile defence interceptors in the country. Moon "discussed reaching out to North Korea and going back to the days of the Sunshine Policy of his progressive predecessors — Kim Dae Jung [and] Roh Moon Hyun." The Sunshine Policy brought about détente through various economic and political exchanges, Shorrock noted.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un smiles during a banquet, as he paid an unofficial visit to Beijing, China, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang March 28, 2018. - Sputnik International
Kim's Visit to Beijing Confirms China’s Influence in Korean Peninsula - Pundit

Further, Moon made clear last summer that a unilateral strike by the US was an "unacceptable option" and that Seoul and Washington "must avoid a war at all costs," which really put the Trump administration "on notice" that negotiations were preferable to war, Shorrock said.

"Despite being closely allied with [US President Donald] Trump on the way they are doing this, I think [Moon] really did stand up to the United States."

While an agenda has not been set for the meeting, which will take place on the southern side of the Demilitarized Zone, Thursday's joint statement from the two Koreas made no mention of Pyongyang's nuclear arsenal, "raising fresh doubts about Kim Jong Un's willingness to give up the weapons," the Wall Street Journal reported.

Nevertheless, South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung Gyon told reporters in South Korea Thursday that "both sides will continue working-level discussions [on the agenda] while focusing on the issues surrounding the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the stabilization of peace and the development of the relations between the North and the South."

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