Trump should win the Nobel Peace Prize, says South Korea's Moon

Wednesday, 02 May, 2018

US President Donald Trump said Saturday that "things are going very well" after talking with South Korea's President Moon Jae-in about an upcoming summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Moon responded by saying Trump should get it. Kim Dae-Jung championed the so-called Sunshine policy of engagement with North Korea and won the 2000 Nobel Peace Prize after engineering the first inter-Korean summit with former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (L) and South Korean President Moon Jae-in shake hands after signing on a joint statement at Panmunjom in South Korea.

Mr Kim and Mr Moon said they would pursue talks with the United States and China to formally end the Korean War, which ended in 1953 with a truce, not total peace.

About a week before the Kim-Moon summit, North Korea announced through its state-run media that it would dismantle the Punggye-ri site and halt its nuclear and long-range missile tests, but the timing of the closure had not been clear.

North Korea's nuclear test site will shut in May and reveal the process to experts and journalists from South Korea and the United States, South Korea's presidential office has said.

Yoon said that the North's decision to return to the Seoul time zone was aimed at facilitating communication with South Korea and also the United States.

"Kim said 'the United States feels repulsive about us, but once we talk, they will realize that I am not a person who will fire a nuclear weapon to the South or the U.S. or target the USA", according to Yoon. Kind of a throwback: back in the 1950s, Syngman Rhee had South Korea's standard time set 30 minutes ahead of Japan's.

Japan - a key USA ally in Asia - has long maintained a hardline position on negotiations with Pyongyang, but has found itself left on the sidelines of the recent whirlwind diplomatic activity.

Pyongyang cold noodles, or Pyongyang Naengmyeon, which Kim brought to the South from the capital of North Korea, emerged as the top hashtag as it was tweeted more than 100,000 times. "The two different clocks for Seoul and [Pyongyang] hanging in the Peace House broke his heart", Yoon said of Kim.

A revelation to the people of North Korea that Kim is willing to work toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is noteworthy and potentially speaks volumes about his sincerity. "And if it's not going to be fair and reasonable and good, unlike past administrations, I will leave the table". He was cautious about the outcome of the summit meeting, saying that "only time will tell in we can get that done".

The move represents yet another fast-moving breakthrough in the negotiations between the two volatile world leaders and the South Korean president. He repeated that Mr. Trump will maintain a "pressure campaign" of harsh sanctions on impoverished North Korea until Mr. Kim shutters his nuclear weapons program. "But, as always, we must take North Korea's actions with appropriate caution", said Mintaro Oba, a former U.S. diplomat who focused on North Korea policy.