S. Korea-U.S. summit takes place amid diplomatic tug-of-war in Northeast Asia


And our Blue House correspondent Hwang Hojun,
who’s also in Washington for the summit between Presidents Moon and Trump… is going to guide
us step-by-step through the flurry of diplomacy that’s taken place over the past few months
to get us to this point. The diplomatic surge in Northeast Asia started
in March. “South and North Korea have agreed to hold
the third leaders’ summit at the Peace House in Panmunjom in late April. For this, we agreed to hold working-level
talks.” And just three days later, U.S. President
Donald Trump agreed to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, after being briefed by
the South Korean special envoys who personally delivered Kim’s willingness to denuclearize. “President Trump appreciated the briefing
and said he would meet Kim Jong-un by May to achieve permanent denuclearization.” But, while Pyongyang’s icy relationship with
South Korea and the U.S. seemed to be defrosting, the regime made sure to play its cards close
to its chest. In late March, about a month prior to the
inter-Korean summit, Kim Jong-un made a surprise visit to Beijing to meet with Chinese President
Xi Jinping. It was Kim’s first trip outside North Korea
as well as his first one-on-one with a foreign leader since he took power in 2011. Kim and Xi discussed Pyongyang’s commitment
to dialogue with South Korea and the U.S. for denuclearization while underscoring the
necessity and historical significance of bilateral ties between North Korea and China and pledging
closer communication and cooperation. On April 27th, the historic inter-Korean summit
took place at the border village of Panmunjom. Thoughts of reconciliation and reunification
were in the air as President Moon and Kim pledged to cooperate to de-escalate military
tension by halting all aggression and to realize a “complete” denuclearization of the Korean
Peninsula. “Chairman Kim and I have today reaffirmed
our common goal of realizing a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula through complete denuclearization.” Less than two weeks later,… Kim made a surprise
visit to Dalian, a city in China’s northeast,… for his second summit with Xi Jinping,….
once again pledging to strengthen the strategic communication between the two countries. China’s determination to make sure it would
still be able to exert influence on North Korea-related affairs was expressed a couple
days after, during a trilateral summit in Tokyo between leaders of South Korea, Japan
and China. And a couple of days after that, President
Trump announced the Pyongyang-Washington summit would be held in Singapore on June 12th. Tuesday’s one-on-one between the two leaders
comes amid North Korea’s threats to cancel its upcoming summit with President Trump if
the U.S. continues its quote “one-sided” affair pressuring Pyongyang to give up its
nuclear program,… while also citing the recent joint exercises between Seoul and Washington
The spotlight will be on how President Moon,… bearing the label, “the negotiator”,… will
navigate through the regional diplomatic tug-a-war to guarantee a successful North Korea-U.S.
summit as well as to establish lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula. Hwang Hojun, Arirang News, Washington.

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