South Korean President Angles for Invite to Trump-Kim Summit

Collage of Trump, Moon, and Kim
AFP/AP

An official in South Korea’s presidential palace, the Blue House, told the South Korean news service Yonhap that leftist President Moon Jae-in could participate in the possible summit between North Korean communist dictator Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump.

Trump sent a letter to Kim canceling the summit last week but hinted to reporters this weekend that the meeting could still take place on the scheduled date, June 12.

Now, the summit may also include Moon, who met once again with Kim on Saturday, the unnamed ranking government official told Yonhap.

“The discussions are just getting started, so we are still waiting to see how they come out, but depending on their outcome, the president could join President Trump and Chairman Kim in Singapore,” the official reportedly said. They added that the idea was not a new one in light of Trump’s cancelation of the summit, but that “a three-way summit was originally proposed by Moon and the North Korean leader when they held their first-ever meeting at the border village of Panmunjom on April 27.”

Moon also said on Sunday, following his meeting with Kim that he would like to see a summit featuring himself, Kim, and Trump take place as a way to formally end the Korean War, which is still technically occurring. Due to the outsized roles that the United States and China played while the Korean War was raging, the two Koreans need all parties at the table to end the Korean War.

Moon’s meeting with Kim in the border town of Panmunjom is the second such meeting of its kind, the first in history occurring on April 27. It was the first meeting of heads of the two Koreas in history and the first time either head of state visited the other’s country (they both symbolically crossed the border in Panmunjom). Moon insisted following his summit with Kim Sunday that the communist North Korean regime was interested in “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” a nebulous term that critics suggest means North Korea would like to see American assets removed from the region.

Moon told reporters that Kim would like to dismantle his nuclear program, but feared that the American government would advocate for an end to the tyrannical Kim cult that has dominated Pyongyang for half a century. Kim, his father, and grandfather are responsible for untold human rights violations and crimes against humanity, including placing hundreds of thousands in labor camps for any appearance of opposing the regime, the use of public executions to instill terror, and widespread use of forced abortions and infanticide to ensure the racial purity of the nation.

Kim, Moon says, is afraid that the United States would use these atrocities to call for a free and democratic North Korea.

“I think what worries Chairman Kim is whether or not he could have complete trust in the U.S.’s promise that it will end its hostile relations with the North and guarantee its regime’s safety if he carried out denuclearization,” Moon said, according to South Korea’s Joongang Ilbo. “On the other hand, President Trump made it clear to me during our summit [in Washington last Tuesday] not only would he end the confrontational relation with the North should it choose denuclearization, but the U.S. was willing to help it to achieve economic prosperity.”

To develop trust, Moon insisted to reporters that Washington must treat Pyongyang as a legitimate regime.

“I emphasized the need for each side to talk to each other through a direct communication channel to put at ease misunderstandings and that plenty of advance talks would be necessary through working-level negotiations to select agenda topics to be discussed at the summit meeting, to which Chairman Kim agreed,” Moon reportedly said on Sunday.

Moon also expressed the desire that the leaders of both Koreans speak and meet “as if they were friends.”

The second Panjunmon meeting occurred shortly before conservatives in the South Korean legislature blocked the adoption of a resolution that would turn the Moon-Kim statement from their first summit into South Korean law.

Conservatives of the opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) insisted that any legislation regarding an agreement with North Korea include the terms “complete, verifiable and irreversible” denuclearization, which the leftists opposed, Yonhap reported Monday.

North Korea’s state media – the only outlets North Korean citizens have to learn about the world – reportedly extensively on the second Moon-Kim summit on Monday, according to South Korea’s Chosun IlboRodong Sinmun, North Korea’s official state newspaper, boasted of the alleged successes of North Korean diplomacy in a column Monday.

“The DPRK’s active and bold measures are, in a nutshell, part of the efforts for implementing the decision of the Third Plenary Meeting of the Seventh Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea,” the column read. “The world, stunned by the DPRK’s declaration on dismantling the nuclear test ground, calling it a bold decision, is now admiring its practice in which the transparency was fully shown.”

“The DPRK’s steadfast will to join hands with the world peace-loving people in building a nuclear-free, peaceful world, a new independent world where the dream and ideal of humankind have come true, will remain unchanged in the future, too,” the column concluded.

Another article published by the newspaper on Monday, however, appeared to condemn America, railing against unnamed “imperialists,” which apparently includes the leadership of the United States.

“The revolution can neither advance nor the country’s sovereignty and the nation’s dignity be safeguarded without an uncompromising struggle against the imperialists,” Rodong Sinmun insisted. “The imperialists are becoming ever more high-handed and arbitrary on the international arena.”

“Expecting any ‘benefit’ from the imperialists, especially the U.S. while approaching them with illusions is an act of making concession in revolutionary principle and a servile act of stepping back from the anti-imperialist, anti-U.S. struggle,” the newspaper warned. “The concession and retreat in the struggle against the class enemies including the imperialists mean death.”

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