ROK-U.S. News

Yonhap – U.S. envoy hopes N. Korea will accept offer to meet ‘anytime, anywhere without preconditions’

By Song Sang-ho and Kim Seung-yeon

SEOUL, June 21 (Yonhap) — The United States has offered to meet with North Korea “anywhere, anytime without preconditions” and looks forward to a positive response from Pyongyang, the new U.S. special envoy for the North said Monday.

Ambassador Sung Kim made the remarks during trilateral talks with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts, Noh Kyu-duk and Takehiro Funakoshi, in Seoul, where they discussed North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s recent remarks that his country should be ready for both dialogue and confrontation.

“We continue to hope that the DPRK will respond positively to our outreach and our offer to meet anywhere, anytime without preconditions,” Kim said, referring to the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Kim also stressed that the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden will continue to implement U.N. Security Council resolutions against Pyongyang.

“We will also urge all U.N. member states, especially U.N. Security Council members, to do the same, to address the threat posed to the international community by the DPRK,” he said.

Sung Kim, new U.S. special representative for North Korea, speaks during trilateral talks with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts at the Lotte Hotel in central Seoul in this pool photo taken on June 21, 2021. (Yonhap)

Sung Kim, new U.S. special representative for North Korea, speaks during trilateral talks with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts at the Lotte Hotel in central Seoul in this pool photo taken on June 21, 2021. (Yonhap)

Kim took over as special representative for the North last month while concurrently serving as ambassador to Indonesia. His trip to Seoul came after North Korea concluded a four-day plenary meeting of the Workers’ Party’s Central Committee last week.

At the meeting, the North Korean leader called for his country to be prepared for both dialogue and confrontation, but more importantly the latter, and stressed the need for the “stable control” of the Korean Peninsula situation.

Kim’s directive was construed as a sign of his openness to dialogue as well as an implicit call for Washington to offer more concrete incentives for the resumption of nuclear diplomacy with Pyongyang.

In an interview with ABC News on Sunday, U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan called Kim’s comments an “interesting signal,” saying, “We will wait to see whether they are followed up with any kind of more direct communication to us about a potential path forward.”

Nuclear talks between the U.S. and the North have remained stalled since the Hanoi summit between then U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim in 2019 ended without a deal.

During his bilateral talks with Noh earlier in the day, the U.S. envoy said that Washington will also be prepared for either dialogue or confrontation.

“We will be prepared for either, because you know, we are still waiting to hear back from Pyongyang,” he said. “Hopefully, Chairman Kim’s reference to dialogue indicates that we will get a positive response soon.”

After the talks, the U.S. envoy reaffirmed the two countries’ shared commitment to pursuing the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula through diplomacy and dialogue.

“I also reiterated our support for meaningful inter-Korean dialogue, cooperation and engagement as our two leaders did in Washington, during President Moon’s visit to Washington,” he said, referring to the May 21 summit.

Noh said during talks with Kim that Seoul will continue to play a “necessary” role for the early resumption of dialogue with Pyongyang through coordination with Washington.

“We wish to restore the structure where inter-Korean and U.S.-DPRK relations reinforce each other in a mutually beneficial way,” he said.

Noh later held separate bilateral talks with Funakoshi, and the two sides agreed that bilateral and trilateral cooperation between the three countries is “essential” for regional peace and stability, especially dealing with the North.

“We’ve had very close consultation in the process of the U.S. policy review for North Korea and today’s meeting will be another starting point for our policy consultation,” he said at the start of the talks.

Later in the day, Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong met with Kim and his delegation and called for “watertight” cooperation between Seoul and Washington to make substantive progress in peace efforts on the peninsula.

Kim was accompanied by Deputy Special Representative Jung Pak and Adam Farrar, director for the Korean Peninsula at the National Security Council.

Kim, who doubles as ambassador to Indonesia, arrived here Saturday for a five-day visit. It marks his first trip since Biden announced his appointment last month in a signal of his administration’s readiness for dialogue with the North.

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Article: https://en.yna.co.kr/view/AEN20210621000955325?section=news

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Bloomberg – North Korea’s Kim Jong Un Opens Door for Dialogue With Biden

By  and 

 Kim Jong Un, center, speaks during a Workers' Party meeting in Pyongyang on June 17.

Kim Jong Un, center, speaks during a Workers’ Party meeting in Pyongyang on June 17. Photographer: KCNA/AP Photo

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said he’s ready for “both dialogue and confrontation,” offering an opening for talks as U.S. President Joe Biden’s new nuclear envoy heads to the region to build support for a strategy toward Pyongyang.

The comments, made in a plenary meeting of the Central Committee of his ruling Workers’ Party of Korea on Thursday, are the first high-level suggestion of talks since Biden replaced Donald Trump, who met Kim three times. Pyongyang has so far rebuffed Biden’s requests for dialogue as a “time-delaying trick” and lambasted the U.S. president’s comments that were critical of North Korea’s arms buildup.

Shares of companies expected to benefit from better ties between North Korea and South Korea rallied Friday morning in Seoul on the news. Biden’s special representative for North Korea, Sung Kim, is due to hold talks with his counterparts from Seoul and Tokyo on Monday during his visit.

But Kim also tempered the remarks with a call for the country to “get fully prepared for confrontation in order to protect the dignity of our state and its interests,” according to a Friday report from the official Korean Central News Agency. The message follows a pledge from Kim made at the start of the year to develop more advanced nuclear technology.

Biden hosted Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga at the White House in April and South Korean President Moon Jae-in in May, the first foreign leaders to be invited to his official residence. The visits signaled the importance he places on his country’s relationship with the two allies, which together host the bulk of U.S. troops in Asia. Moon has been pressing the U.S. to resume stalled nuclear negotiations with Pyongyang.

“Kim’s courteous reminder will probably be received differently in Washington and Seoul,” said Soo Kim, a Rand Corp. policy analyst who previously worked at the Central Intelligence Agency.

She said the message from the North Korean leader won’t do much to change Biden’s approach but it could offer encouragement to the Moon administration, which has been “dangling carrots before Kim to entice the North Koreans to return to the dialogue table.”

“Kim will only grant dialogue to the U.S. and South Korea when his conditions are met,” Soo Kim said.

The North Korean leader has shown no interest in resuming nuclear talks that could offer relief from sanctions choking his state’s economy. North Korea has been finding ways to dodge sanctions through cybercrimes and illegal trade from ship-to-ship transfers on the high seas, according to reports made to the United Nations Security Council.

Still, his country is feeling the pinch. North Korea’s economy will barely grow in 2021 after its worst contraction in decades as it continues to struggle with the pandemic, international sanctions to punish it for its nuclear and missile testing, and a lack of trade with its main benefactor, China, Fitch Solutions said in April.

China believes “the situation on the Korean peninsula is facing new tensions,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a regular briefing in Beijing Friday, calling on the parties “to grasp the opportunity and work for the gradual de-escalation of the situation.”

North Korea tested two short-range ballistic missiles in March, the first since Biden took office. It has so far refrained from the type of provocations it used when Barack Obama and Trump began their presidencies, which included nuclear tests and long-range missile launches.

The North Korean leader appears to be focused on taking care of internal matters for the time being rather than ratcheting up regional tensions through military provocations, South Korean Defense Minister Suh Wook told parliament this month.

Earlier in the week at the same political meeting, Kim Jong Un made a rare admission that the food situation at home was “growing tense,” due to typhoons last year that wiped out crops. The comments underscored farm-sector shortfalls that have left 40% of the population undernourished by World Food Program estimates, and made worse by his decision to close borders to prevent Covid.

While Kim was talking with Trump, he was busy adding to his stockpile of fissile material and missiles that can deliver warheads to the U.S. and its allies, increasing his leverage for when disarmament talks resume. Despite economic hardships, Kim has pressed ahead with a nuclear arsenal that North Korea has long said prevents a U.S. invasion.

Return of Rocket Man

Missile tests under Kim Jong Un

Sources: South Korea Ministry of Defense and Center for Nonproliferation Studies

Trump’s former envoy for North Korea, Stephen Biegun, said in an interview this month with the Arms Control Association that he believes a negotiated settlement with Pyongyang is possible.

Biegun sees the Biden policy as a continuation of what his team was looking for, which is “an agreement on a path toward denuclearization with a certain endpoint that is complete denuclearization but that we can structure along the way with some flexibility.”

— With assistance by James Mayger


Article: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-06-18/north-korea-s-kim-jong-un-opens-door-for-dialogue-with-biden?sref=hhjZtX76

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Yonhap – LaCamera to take office as new USFK commander next month

SEOUL, June 17 (Yonhap) — Gen. Paul LaCamera will take office as the new commander of the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) next month, the U.S. military said Thursday.

LaCamera, who most recently served as Army Pacific Commander, will replace Gen. Robert Abrams to lead the 28,500-strong USFK in a change of command ceremony slated for July 2 at Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, 70 kilometers south of Seoul, according to USFK.

Abrams led the USFK since November 2018.

The USFK commander also heads the United Nations Command and the South Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command.

LaCamera was initially nominated to the post in December by then U.S. President Donald Trump but the confirmation process was delayed, apparently due to the government changes in Washington.

During his confirmation hearing last month, LaCamera highlighted the importance of joint field exercises between South Korea and the United States, saying he will work for their resumption if confirmed.

The two countries regularly hold joint military drills, but their exercises have mostly been computer-simulated due to the coronavirus situation and efforts to back denuclearization dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang.

USFK said next month’s ceremony will be streamed live on its official Facebook page.

The image captured from the website of the Senate Armed Services Committee shows Gen. Paul LaCamera, commander of U.S. Army Pacific, at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in Washington on May 18, 2021, on his nomination as commander of U.S. Forces Korea. (Yonhap)

The image captured from the website of the Senate Armed Services Committee shows Gen. Paul LaCamera, commander of U.S. Army Pacific, at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in Washington on May 18, 2021, on his nomination as commander of U.S. Forces Korea. (Yonhap)

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Yonhap – ‘Goodwill’ gestures, suspension of joint military drills needed to bring N. Korea to dialogue: experts

By Byun Duk-kun

WASHINGTON, June 16 (Yonhap) — The United States and South Korea need to make more conciliatory gestures, including a suspension of their planned joint military exercise, to bring North Korea back to the negotiating table, U.S. and South Korean experts said Wednesday.

They also highlighted the need to build more trust with the reclusive North to realize their goal of completely denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

“North Korea might be very, very hesitant to have a dialogue with the United States because North Korea regards joint military exercise … a sign of hostile intention and policy by the United States,” said Moon Chung-in, a former special adviser to South Korean President Moon Jae-in for unification and national security affairs, noting Seoul and Washington have a joint military exercise, Ulchi Freedom Guardian, scheduled to start in August.

“Therefore, the first thing is whether our government, after consulting the United States, announces that the August military joint military exercise will be suspended,” he added in a webinar jointly hosted by the National Committee on North Korea, a Washington-based nongovernmental organization, and the Seoul-based East Asia Foundation think tank.

The captured image shows Moon Chung-in, a former professor of Seoul's Yonsei University and former special adviser to South Korean President Moon Jae-in for unification and national security, speaking in a webinar jointly hosted by the Washington-based National Committee on North Korea and Seoul-based East Asia Foundation on June 16, 2021. (Yonhap)

The captured image shows Moon Chung-in, a former professor of Seoul’s Yonsei University and former special adviser to South Korean President Moon Jae-in for unification and national security, speaking in a webinar jointly hosted by the Washington-based National Committee on North Korea and Seoul-based East Asia Foundation on June 16, 2021. (Yonhap)

Wednesday’s webinar on how to jumpstart diplomacy with North Korea came amid a prolonged hiatus in U.S.-North Korea dialogue.

Pyongyang has stayed away from denuclearization negotiations since leader Kim Jong-un’s 2019 summit in Hanoi with former U.S. President Donald Trump ended without a deal.

The new Joe Biden administration sought to engage with the North in February, then again when its review of its North Korea policy was completed in April, but the North reportedly remains unresponsive to the U.S. overtures.

Frank Aum, a senior expert on North Korea at the U.S. Institute of Peace think tank, noted the U.S. believes the ball is now in North Korea’s court following its outreaches.

He, however, insisted the U.S. should do more to bring the North back to the dialogue table.

“If North Korea continues to be hesitant about returning to talks, then I still think the U.S. should consider a range of unilateral, conciliatory gestures to pave the way for sustained communications and negotiations with North Korea because the reality today is that North Korea is an insecure country that has nuclear weapons, but there’s a real deficit of trust, understanding, and communications on both sides,” he said.

Aum said the unilateral and conciliatory measures the U.S. can take may include its willingness to declare a formal end to the Korean War, as well as a more “definitive statement” from Biden about U.S. seeking new U.S.-North Korea relations.

The 1950-53 Korean War ended only with an armistice, leaving the divided Koreas technically at war to date.

“Ultimately, I think we need to get into a virtuous cycle of reconciliation, as we saw a little bit in 2018, and, in my opinion, I think the U.S. is in the best position to assume some risks towards peace and take the first steps, given our robust defense and deterrence posture,” he added.

Susan Thornton, former U.S. acting assistant secretary of East Asia and Pacific affairs, agreed the U.S. should do more to bring North Korea back to the table than just wait.

“I think to get diplomacy going with North Korea, we really have to get a lot more consensus first inside the United States, and then with our partners on how to approach North Korea,” she said.

“So I think my emphasis is on coming up with a workable plan that’s more realistic in the time that we are spending waiting and not just let the ball be in North Korea’s court,” she added.

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Article: https://en.yna.co.kr/view/AEN20210617000200325?section=news

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Yonhap – Both sanctions and diplomacy critical to denuclearizing N. Korea: Kritenbrink

By Byun Duk-kun

WASHINGTON, June 15 (Yonhap) — Strict and continued enforcement of sanctions on North Korea while also seeking to engage with the reclusive state diplomatically are important to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the nominee for U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs said Tuesday.

Daniel Kritenbrink also said he would try to find ways to further strengthen sanctions on the North if confirmed.

“As I noted at the outset, the Biden-Harris administration is committed to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. And, if confirmed, I would support an approach that relies both on sanctions enforcement and deterrence, as well as a practical calibrated approach, open to diplomacy,” he said in his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“If confirmed, I would be delighted to learn more about the BRINK Act and how we can strengthen the sanctions regime, but Senator, I do agree enforcing the sanctions regime with the tools that we have…is vitally important to the denuclearization goals that we have,” he said when asked about the possible role of the sanctions regime can play in putting pressure on North Korea.

The image captured from the website of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee shows Daniel Kritenbrink, nominee for assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, delivering opening remarks in a confirmation hearing in Washington on June 15, 2021. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

The image captured from the website of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee shows Daniel Kritenbrink, nominee for assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, delivering opening remarks in a confirmation hearing in Washington on June 15, 2021. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

The BRINK Act or Banking Restrictions Involving North Korea Act is a 2017 bill that sought to cut off the North’s access to the international banking system, which was prompted by the death of a then 22-year-old U.S. student, Otto Warmbier, who died six days after he was released from the North after a yearlong detention on charges of stealing a propaganda poster.

The proposed bill failed to pass U.S. Congress.

North Korea still faces various U.S. and international sanctions, including those under U.N. Security Council resolutions, that prohibit U.N. members and their businesses from doing business with the North, especially in energy and arms-related areas.

The Joe Biden administration sought to engage with Pyongyang in February, then again in April when its monthlong review of North Korea policy came to end.

North Korea reportedly remains unresponsive to the U.S. overtures.

The U.S. ambassador to Vietnam highlighted the importance of efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula through diplomacy.

“President Biden has stated we remain committed to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and will work with allies to address that threat through diplomacy and deterrence,” he told the Senate committee in the hearing.

“If confirmed, I will work to ensure North Korea and others abide by UN Security Council resolutions while supporting a calibrated and practical diplomatic approach that prioritizes the security of the United States, our allies, and our deployed military forces,” the nominee added.

Kritenbrink said strengthening U.S. alliances will be the first of his six priorities as an assistant secretary of state, which also include the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

“Our network of alliances and partnerships is our greatest strategic asset, enabling us to pool our strengths to advance shared interests, deter common threats, and promote universal values — including our commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific that is rules-based and unconstrained by coercion,” he said in his opening remarks submitted to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“If confirmed, strengthening these relationships will be my top priority. The priority placed on our treaty alliances was demonstrated by President Biden’s hosting of his Japanese and Republic of Korea counterparts in April and May,” added Kritenbrink.

Biden hosted his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in, in Washington on May 21, which marked his second in-person meeting with a foreign leader since taking office in January. Biden’s first in-person summit was held in April with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

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ASIA PRESS – <Inside N. Korea> Why is hunger getting worse in June? “Malnutrition has made it impossible to go to work, and some have died from eating wild plants.” This is the worst in the Kim Jong-un era.

(Photo) A homeless girl, about the age of a junior high school student, warms herself with charcoal briquettes in a marketplace. Photographed in Hyesan city, Ryanggang Province in November 2012 (ASIAPRESS).

 

Starvation spreads due to side effects of coronavirus quarantine.

The impoverishment of North Korean is getting worse. It has been 1 year and 5 months since the Kim Jong-un regime began imposing strict controls, including closing the border with China to combat the coronavirus. The economy is in a slump, and malnutrition appears to be widespread among those who have lost their cash income and are running out of food. Our reporting partners living in the northern part of the country have reported on the real situation (Kang Ji-won).

North Korea is currently in the midst of a period of spring distress known as “polycoge.” This is the time of the year when food is in short supply, as it is on the edge of the fall harvest.

Food prices in the market have skyrocketed since the beginning of June, with white rice prices up about 20% and corn prices up about 30% compared to the end of April. A research conducted by ASIAPRESS within the country shows that food rations are available to government, Workers’ Party, the police, and the security bureau (secret police), but have been completely cut off in general companies such as factories.

The side-effects of the Kim Jong-un regime’s excessive coronavirus measures have stagnated the market, and most of the people have experienced a sharp drop in their cash income. Those who have managed to hold on to their savings and debts so far seem to be approaching the limit as they enter the “polycoge” period.

Workers cannot go to work due to malnutrition

Musan-gun in North Hamkyung Province is located on the Chinese border and is home to North Korea’s largest iron mine. The estimated population is about 100 thousand. One of our reporting partners who works at the Musan mine complains about the difficulties that ordinary people face.

“The Musan residents are really suffering. They have no money. The mine’s ration for May was only a few days’ worth of corn. Business at the market is not going well at all, and many people are on the edge of becoming ‘kochebi’ (vagrants). Many of the mine workers are so malnourished and swollen that they can’t even go to work.”

The number of tuberculosis patients is increasing, but with no medicine coming in from China, people have been dying since last summer. Recently, there have been a number of accidents where people have died from food poisoning after eating wild plants.

“People pick or buy wild plants from the mountains and mix them with corn flour to feed their stomachs. However, since poisonous plants are mixed in their food sometimes, food poisoning is common. In Soholi, there was an accident that 3 of 4 family members died and only 1 child survived,” said the reporting partner.

Although the exhaustion of the people has reached a dangerous level, the authorities have not taken any concrete measures, such as releasing state-owned food. “At the Musan mine, Party workers have been instructed to help those in difficulty at their workplaces, but even the Party members are on a tight budget. Since even the Party members are on a tight budget, little food they can provide on their own is barely enough.”

One meal a day is on the rise.

We also interviewed a resident of Ryanggang Province.

“I can’t use cooking oil anymore. One hundred grams of oil costs 70 Chinese yuan (about 11 USD), and I can’t afford it. Due to the slump in business, everyone has no money, and many people can only eat one meal a day. For me personally, it’s even harder than the time of the “Arduous March” (the famine of the late 1990s) because I can’t even do business due to the controls.”
He expressed his bitterness in this way.

From the reports of our reporting partners, it is clear that the current situation in North Korea is a humanitarian crisis. The Kim Jong-un regime should promptly request emergency humanitarian assistance from the international community and promptly allow the entry and inspection of international organization personnel.

※ASIAPRESS contacts its reporting partners in North Korea through smuggled Chinese mobile phones.


Article: https://www.asiapress.org/rimjin-gang/2021/06/society-economy/sinkoku/

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Yonhap – Unification ministry calls on N. Korea to restore inter-Korean communication channels

SEOUL, June 15 (Yonhap) — The unification ministry urged North Korea on Tuesday to restore inter-Korean communication lines immediately as this week marks one year since the cross-border communication lines were suspended.

On June 16 last year, the North vowed to cut off all communication lines with the South and even blew up an inter-Korean liaison office in its border city of Kaesong in anger over anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets coming in from the South.

“The inter-Korean communication channel must be immediately restored without any conditions… we urge North Korea to restore the inter-Korean communication lines,” the ministry official said.

“The inter-Korean communication channel is the most fundamental means of communication, and the two Koreas have agreed to maintain such a channel several times,” she added.

Relations between the two Koreas have remained chilly, with the North not responding to offers for talks and cross-border cooperation since a no-deal summit between Pyongyang and Washington in February 2019.

This file photo, taken from the South Korean border city of Paju on Sept. 8, 2020, shows the South Korea-built support center for the Kaesong Industrial Complex in the North Korean border town of Kaesong, which was severely damaged by the indirect impact of the North's destruction of the inter-Korean liaison office adjacent to the center in June of that year. North Korea marked the 72nd anniversary of the North Korean government's establishment the next day. (Yonhap)

This file photo, taken from the South Korean border city of Paju on Sept. 8, 2020, shows the South Korea-built support center for the Kaesong Industrial Complex in the North Korean border town of Kaesong, which was severely damaged by the indirect impact of the North’s destruction of the inter-Korean liaison office adjacent to the center in June of that year. North Korea marked the 72nd anniversary of the North Korean government’s establishment the next day. (Yonhap)

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The Korea Times – How can Korea make the best of the G7 summit? Opinion

By Ahn Ho-young – Opinion

President Moon Jae-in attended the Group of Seven (G7) Summit in Cornwall, United Kingdom from June 11 to 13. The event reminds me of the two previous times Korea has participated in a G7 summit, the momentous changes that have taken place in the world since then, and the meaning of Korea’s participation at the Cornwall meeting more than a decade later.

Korea’s first participation in the G7 goes back to 2008, when Japan hosted the meeting in Toyako. At that time, the so-called Heiligendamm Process had been established, which enabled the G5 countries of Brazil, India, China, South Africa and Mexico to participate as a group at the G7 summits in what used to be called the “G8 (as Russia was also attending the G7 meetings at the time)+G5” format. Then, it was also customary for the G7 country hosting that particular summit to invite special guest countries. Japan accordingly invited Australia, Indonesia and Korea to attend the Toyako G7 Summit as guests.

Cheong Wa Dae, in preparation for then President Lee Myung-bak’s participation at the summit, appointed me as a “sherpa” to the President, or his personal representative. (I used to work at the time as the deputy foreign minister for trade) I jumped at the opportunity because I believed in the importance of Korea making a bigger contribution to global affairs and in being further involved in important institutions for global leadership. Korea’s participation at Toyako was followed by many other important moves made in that direction.

In the same year, the G20 was started in the wake of the Great Recession. In the following year, at the London sherpas’ meeting held in February, Korea was already cited as a perfect candidate to hold a G20 summit, and it was subsequently held in Seoul in November 2010. In 2011, the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) was established in Seoul, which started, among other things, the climate partnership between Korea and Denmark, as we recently observed in the Seoul Summit of the Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030 (P4G). In the following year, Korea hosted the 2nd Nuclear Security Summit and succeeded in bringing the Global Climate Fund headquarters, the financing arm of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to Korea.

Now, almost 10 years later, Korea has again attended a G7 summit. My hope is that it will prove to be more than a one-time event and serve as another opportunity for Korea to enhance its stature on global issues.

There are several points we have to reflect on for that to happen. First of all, we must understand the changes the G7 went through over the years. The intervening years saw many important changes in the strategic, economic, technological, environmental and even health conditions around the world, such that we often talk about today being a time of global uncertainty.

This has resulted in important changes in the structure, and substance, of G7 meetings as well. As for the structure, as an example, G5 countries are no longer collectively represented at the G7. The issues dealt with by the G7 have also undergone important changes, part of the reason being that the G20 has been declared “the premier institution for international economic issues.”

Second, we must understand the motivation behind the invitation extended to Korea this time. A clue can be found on the U.K. government’s official G7 website: “The prime minister’s ambition is to use the G7 to intensify cooperation between the world’s democratic and technologically advanced nations. To that end, he has invited leaders from Australia, India, South Korea and South Africa (…).”

U.S. President Joe Biden, in his pre-G7 summit contribution to The Washington Post, echoed British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and raised what he called, “a defining question of our time”: “Can democracies come together to deliver real results for our people in a rapidly changing world?”

If Korea was invited to the G7 summits in 2008 and 2009 for its enhanced capability to contribute to G7 cooperation on climate change and official development assistance (ODA), this time it was invited as a model democracy to join other democracies at this time of global uncertainty.

Third, we must ask ourselves if we wish to take this opportunity of joining other leading democracies and, if so, how we can make the best of this situation. On this choice, the fact that President Moon attended the G7 Cornwall Summit is in itself a clear indication that it has already been made.

As for how to make the best of this opportunity, Korea must not be timid in declaring its intention to join other democracies, to play a role commensurate with its capabilities, and to shed itself of the perception that Korea is becoming increasingly backward and inward-looking. In the wake of the May 14 Korea-U.S. Summit and its joint statement, I wrote in this column of my pleasant surprise, and the importance of implementing it. Let us hope that Korea’s participation at the Cornwall Summit will serve as another timely juncture for Korea to move in that direction.

G7 leaders pose for a group photo at the June 2021 summit in Cornwall, England.G7 leaders pose for a group photo at the June 2021 summit in Cornwall, England. Patrick Semansky/Pool via Reuters


Ahn Ho-young (hyahn78@mofa.or.kr) is president of the University of North Korean Studies. He served as the Korean ambassador to the United States and first vice foreign minister.


Article: https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/opinion/2021/06/787_310492.html

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KoreaJoongangDaily – Moon signs on to Biden’s statement on freedoms

President Moon Jae-in, left, and his wife, Kim Jung-wook, second from left, talk to U.S. President Joe Biden, right, before a dinner at the Group of Seven summit in Cornwall, England, on Saturday. [YONHAP]

President Moon Jae-in, left, and his wife, Kim Jung-wook, second from left, talk to U.S. President Joe Biden, right, before a dinner at the Group of Seven summit in Cornwall, England, on Saturday. [YONHAP]

President Moon Jae-in signed a statement along with other world leaders calling for human rights and democratic rule of law — becoming part of Washington’s attempt to contain the rise of China.

Moon was invited as one of four outside guests to a Group of Seven (G7) summit in Cornwall, England, which ended Sunday with the release of two statements: the Summit Communique signed by G7 leaders, and an Open Societies Statement signed by all the leaders.

According to the latter, the leaders agreed to “reaffirm [their] shared belief in open societies, democratic values and multilateralism as foundations for dignity, opportunity and prosperity for all and for the responsible stewardship of our planet.”

They said it was imperative to reaffirm the values that bind their democracies together: respect for international rules and norms relating to human rights for all, democracy, social inclusion, freedom of expression, the rule of law and an effective multilateral system.

While the G7 Summit Communique directly scolded China for human rights infringements in its Xinjiang region, called for Hong Kong to keep its autonomy and demanded a thorough investigation into the origins of the coronavirus, the Open Societies Statement had no direct mention of China.

But it was seen as pressure on Beijing from a coalition of world’s richest democracies led by the United States and President Joe Biden.

A senior Moon administration official on Sunday denied that the delicate balance Seoul was trying to maintain between Washington and Beijing was disturbed.

“The statement included nothing that targets a particular country,” the official said during a briefing to reporters aboard the presidential plane heading to Austria, Moon’s next stop.

“The statement was intended for countries with democratic leaderships to work together in order to resolve the challenges that the world is mutually confronting right now,” he said.

He said Korea did not participate at all in the G7 Summit Communique, which contained a strong rebuke of China. “Guest countries didn’t participate in the draft process nor signed it,” he said.

No discussion took place during the summit that the G7 be expanded to include more countries such as Korea, Australia, India or South Africa, he said — the four countries invited as guests — denying an earlier media report that Japan protested such an expansion.

Last week, China warned Korea against taking sides in  “confrontational” policies pursued by the United States.

In a phone conversation, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Yi told his Korea counterpart, Chung Eui-yong, that Seoul and Beijing should not allow their relations to be pushed off track by Washington’s strategy in the so-called Indo-Pacific region, a statement released by the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.

“As friendly neighbors and strategic partners, China and the Republic of Korea should know well the rights and wrongs, stick to the correct position, abide by political consensus and never be misled,” Wang was quoted as telling Chung.

It was Beijing’s second complaint in less than a month. China expressed concerns last month after a joint statement adopted after Moon’s summit with Biden on May 21 addressed the “importance of preserving peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait” and called for the “freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea.”

China on Sunday condemned the U.S. campaign to contain it at the G7 summit.

“The days when global decisions were dictated by a small group of countries are long gone,” a spokesman for the Chinese embassy in London said in a statement.

The G7 Summit Communique also addressed the North Korean nuclear issue. “We call for the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and the verifiable and irreversible abandonment of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s [DPRK] unlawful weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs in accordance with all relevant UN Security Council resolutions,” the G7 leaders said.

“We call on all states to fully implement these resolutions and their associated sanctions,” they continued. “We welcome the readiness of the United States to continue its diplomatic efforts in coordination with all relevant partners and call on the DPRK to engage and resume dialogue. We once again call on DPRK to respect human rights for all and to resolve the issue of abductions immediately.”

The G7 stance is far more straightforward and stronger that the position in the joint statement from the Moon-Biden summit. While the Korea-U.S. statement only called for denuclearization of the peninsula, the G7 communique demanded the North give up its nuclear programs in a verifiable and irreversible manner.

The G7 leaders also made clear that all “states” should implement UN sanctions against the North. “It is a clear message to China and Russia,” Shin Beom-chul, director of the Center of Diplomacy and National Security at the Research Institute for Economy and Society, told the JoongAng Ilbo. “China, in particular, is the key in the message that urges sanctions implementation.”

Korean President Moon Jae-in, second from left, and his wife Kim Jung-sook, left, pose with Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen, second from right, and his wife Doris Schmidauer, right, at an official welcoming ceremony at the presidential palace Wiener Hofburg in Vienna, Austria, on Monday. [YONHAP]

Korean President Moon Jae-in, second from left, and his wife Kim Jung-sook, left, pose with Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen, second from right, and his wife Doris Schmidauer, right, at an official welcoming ceremony at the presidential palace Wiener Hofburg in Vienna, Austria, on Monday. [YONHAP]

Meanwhile, Moon arrived in Vienna on Sunday to start a three day-visit. He was the first Korean president to visit the country since the two nations established diplomatic relations in 1892.

Moon is scheduled to have meetings on Monday with President Alexander Van der Bellen and Chancellor Sebastian Kurz to discuss efforts to improve bilateral ties. Kurz visited Korea in 2019.

BY SER MYO-JA, JOINT PRESS CORPS   [ser.myoja@joongang.co.kr]

Article: https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/2021/06/14/national/diplomacy/China-G7-Moon-Jaein/20210614173900320.html

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Yonhap – G-7 calls for ‘complete’ denuclearization of Korean Peninsula, welcomes Washington’s readiness towards Pyongyang diplomacy

WASHINGTON, June 13 (Yonhap) — The Group of Seven (G-7) nations on Sunday issued a joint statement calling for the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, while welcoming Washington’s commitment under President Joe Biden to engage with Pyongyang through diplomacy.

In a joint communique adopted at this year’s G-7 summit in the southwestern British county of Cornwall, the countries called for the complete denuclearization of the peninsula and demanded for the “verifiable and irreversible” abandonment of Pyongyang’s weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs.

The G-7 nations also announced that they “welcome the readiness” of Washington “to continue its diplomatic efforts in coordination with all relevant partners” towards Pyongyang.

The countries also called on North Korea to “engage and resume dialogue” with the international community, while demanding Pyongyang to “respect human rights for all” and “resolve the issue of abductions immediately.”

This photo, provided by the British Prime Minister's Office, shows South Korean President Moon Jae-in (2nd from R in the first row) posing with leaders attending in the Group of Seven (G-7) summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, Britain, on June 12, 2021. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

This photo, provided by the British Prime Minister’s Office, shows South Korean President Moon Jae-in (2nd from R in the first row) posing with leaders attending in the Group of Seven (G-7) summit in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, Britain, on June 12, 2021. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

This year’s summit was attended by the leaders of the G-7 member states: the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Britain, as well as representatives from the European Union.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, along with leaders of leaders of Australia, India and South Africa were invited as guests.

The statement on North Korea follows the summit between Moon and Biden last month, in which the U.S. president stressed Washington’s willingness to engage diplomatically with Pyongyang and take pragmatic steps toward the goal of denuclearization.

Washington has also made it clear that it would build on past agreements with the North, including the 2018 Singapore summit accord forged between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and former U.S. President Donald Trump.

On Saturday, South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong and his U.S. counterpart, Antony Blinken, held talks on the margins of the G-7 summit and reaffirmed the goal of the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and agreed to deepen cooperation on vaccine distribution and Myanmar, according to Seoul’s foreign ministry.

The G-7 nations also pressed hard on China in its communique, stressing the importance of “peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” while encouraging “the peace resolution of cross-Strait issues.”

The countries also called on Beijing to “respect human rights and fundamental freedoms,” particularly in relation to the unresolved human rights controversies in China’s Xinjiang and Hong Kong.
(END)


Article: https://en.yna.co.kr/view/AEN20210613003351315?section=nk/nk

News articles do not necessarily reflect the views of KDVA. Any copyrighted materials depicted on this web site are presented for educational purposes only and no claim of ownership is made by KDVA.

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