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South Koreans may visit North again ahead of first summit in decade

17 April 2018

"Given the historical importance of the upcoming summits [inter-Korean Summit and the DPRK-U.S. Summit], the President of the Republic of Korea can not leave the country".

Experts said it would be hard for the two sides to sign the peace treaty, given the differences of opinion on how to sign the deal. "Peace is as complicated as denuclearisation", John Delury, an associate professor of Chinese studies at Yonsei University in Seoul, told Bloomberg.

According to Rhee Sang Hyong, the major challenge at the forthcoming meetings is a gap in the US' and North Korea's approaches to the problem of denuclearization. "If he fails to make his people happy, the safety of the North Korean system can not be guaranteed". But UN sanctions that toughened after the North's nuclear and missile tests a year ago are feared to take a huge toll on its economy if they continue, foreign experts say. With the test of that long-range missile in November, the North said it had "realized the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force".

Reclusive North Korea is pursuing nuclear and missile programmes in defiance of UN Security Council sanctions and has made no secret of its plans to develop a missile capable of hitting the USA mainland. "How can nuclear weapons guarantee that?" "So the North could have thought it should demonstrate an ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) capability to get the U.S.to feel a threat and come to talks", Moon Chung-in said.

After meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang in March, South Korea's national security adviser and spy chief said Kim was committed to denuclearizing the Korean peninsula and had expressed a willingness to meet US President Donald Trump.

It was also a rapprochement with Xi, the leader of North Korea's most important ally and economic lifeline, who disapproved of Kim's nuclear tests. "And after that it will be possible to discuss concrete steps on the operating level", he said.

North Korea and the rich, democratic South are technically still at war because the Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty. -South Korean military exercises. North Korea's outreach to its traditional allies was perceived as an effort to build its negotiating power with the United States for when Kim meets Trump in May or early June. The United States stations 28,500 troops in South Korea but denies any invasion plans.

"If they can agree on the principle that the two sides will co-operate to denuclearise the Korean peninsula and establish permanent peace, we can call it a success", Prof Yang added.

Kim is scheduled to hold a summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on April 27.

South Koreans may visit North again ahead of first summit in decade