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Trump-Moon summit – the focus was on trade differences, not North Korea

A Summit Without Fireworks Over North Korea, 38 North, BY: LEON V. SIGAL 6 JULY 17  Observers who expected fireworks at the first Trump-Moon summit meeting had to wait for the Fourth of July when North Korea test-launched what it said was an ICBM. Smiles rather than tweets marked the mood of the summit with both leaders determined to put on a public show of alliance solidarity and personal rapport. That display will now be put to the test in the aftermath of the North’s missile test.

The sharp differences at the summit came over trade, not North Korea, as US President Donald Trump made clear his intent to revise the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement, focusing on automobiles and steel.[1] That demand could face resistance in South Korea…….

As the summit communique stated: “Noting that sanctions are a tool of diplomacy, the two leaders emphasized that the door to dialogue with North Korea remains open under the right circumstances.” The communique endorsed Seoul’s re-engagement with Pyongyang, as well, explaining: “President Trump supported President Moon’s aspiration to restart inter-Korean dialogue on issues including humanitarian affairs.”[3]

As the summit communique stated: “Noting that sanctions are a tool of diplomacy, the two leaders emphasized that the door to dialogue with North Korea remains open under the right circumstances.” The communique endorsed Seoul’s re-engagement with Pyongyang, as well, explaining: “President Trump supported President Moon’s aspiration to restart inter-Korean dialogue on issues including humanitarian affairs.”[3]

En route to Washington, President Moon spoke with reporters about a two-phased nuclear negotiating process, starting with a freeze on its nuclear programs. ……..

Furthermore, Moon did not back away from the need for a peace process in Korea. “With the nuclear dismantlement, a peace system will be established on the peninsula,” he stated.[7]And he made clear that economic engagement with the North would resume at the Kaesong Industrial Complex and Mount Kumgang with the onset of a nuclear freeze.

Sustaining Washington’s secret talks with Pyongyang will be critical to relations with both Koreas. ……..

the latest test-launch underscores how tougher sanctions by Washington and Seoul provoke Pyongyang to step up arming unless nuclear diplomacy is resumed and the North’s security concerns are addressed.

It’s time to stop acting as if the United States and South Korea have to talk to each other and not North Korea. http://www.38north.org/2017/07/lsigal070617/

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July 8, 2017 - Posted by | politics international, South Korea, USA

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