Britain upset after Argentina snubs Falklands talks

Updated 03 February 2013
0

Britain upset after Argentina snubs Falklands talks

LONDON: Britain said yesterday it was disappointed that Argentina had rejected an invitation to meet Falkland Islands officials during Foreign Minister Hector Timerman’s planned visit to London next week.
Timerman said in Buenos Aires on Thursday that he did not want a “third party” in the talks, insisting the United Nations regards the dispute over the islands in the South Atlantic Ocean as a bilateral issue.
Britain’s Foreign Office had said it hoped Timerman, British Foreign Secretary William Hague and representatives from the Legislative Assembly of the Falklands would be able to meet.
“We are disappointed that the meeting has been cancelled,” a Foreign Office spokeswoman said.
“We are open to discuss bilateral issues and want to develop a constructive bilateral relationship with Argentina.”
Timerman had said Hague’s invitation meant he was refusing to hold a bilateral meeting, and warned of consequences, including withholding cooperation with Britain on the UN Security Council.
“The international community does not recognise a third party in this dispute,” Timerman said.
“It’s a shame that you would object to holding a bilateral meeting.
“This decision will surely reduce Argentine’s interest in working with the UK in the G20 and the UN Security Council, as well as on nuclear proliferation issues, human trafficking, money laundering linked to drug crimes, investment, trade, human rights and many others.”
Timerman told Hague: “It is not necessary that you keep trying to put together meetings during my visit to London. Leave the job to our efficient embassy.”
Instead, Timerman invited Hague to visit Argentina.
Britain has held the islands in the South Atlantic since 1833, but Argentine forces invaded in 1982, prompting then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to send a naval task force to reclaim control in a brief but bloody war.
The Falkland Islanders said in a statement that they would tell Timerman that they want to be “left in peace” by Argentina, which calls the archipelago Las Malvinas and claims it is occupied Argentinian territory.
Falkland Islanders will be asked specifically whether they want the archipelago to retain its status as a British overseas territory in a referendum on March 10 and 11.


Kim and Moon to meet at military demarcation line before inter-Korea summit

Updated 41 min 51 sec ago
0

Kim and Moon to meet at military demarcation line before inter-Korea summit

  • When Kim Jong Un steps over the line he will become the first North Korean leader to set foot in the South since the Korean War ended 65 years ago
  • Kim will be given a military honor guard on Friday and the two leaders will walk to the Peace House, a glass and concrete building on the southern side of the truce village of Panmunjom

SEOUL: North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un and the South’s president Moon Jae-in will meet at the Military Demarcation Line that divides the peninsula before their summit Friday, Seoul said, in an occasion laden with symbolism.
Moon will greet his visitor at the concrete blocks that mark the border between the two Koreas in the Demilitarized Zone, the chief of the South’s presidential secretariat Im Jong-seok said.
When Kim steps over the line he will become the first North Korean leader to set foot in the South since the Korean War ended 65 years ago.
The meeting will be only the third of its kind, following summits in Pyongyang in 2000 and 2007, and the high point so far of a rapid diplomatic rapprochement on the tension-wracked peninsula, ahead of a much-anticipated meeting between Kim and US President Donald Trump.
The North’s nuclear arsenal will be high on the agenda. Pyongyang has made rapid progress in its weapons development under Kim, who inherited power from his father in 2011.
Last year it carried out its sixth nuclear blast, by far its most powerful to date, and launched missiles capable of reaching the US mainland, sending tensions soaring as Kim and Trump traded personal insults and threats of war.
Moon seized on the South’s Winter Olympics as an opportunity to try to broker dialogue between them.
But Im played down expectations, saying that the North’s technological advances meant deal would need to be “fundamentally different in nature from denuclearization agreements reached in the 1990s and early 2000s.”
“That’s what makes this summit all the more difficult,” he added.
“The difficult part is at what level the two leaders will be able to reach an agreement regarding (the North’s) willingness to denuclearize,” he said, “and how it will be expressed in text.”
In the past, North Korean support for the “denuclearization of the Korean peninsula” has been code for the removal of US troops from the South and the end of its nuclear umbrella over its security ally — prospects unthinkable in Washington.
Trump has demanded the North give up its weapons, and Washington is pressing for it to do so in a complete, verifiable and irreversible way.
Kim Hyun-wook, a professor at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy, said that the issue was “not something that can be decided between the North and South.”
“North Korea will want to see first what kind of offer it will get on regime security guarantees,” he said.
“That will be discussed at the US-North Korea summit and it’s not easy to promise denuclearization before any concrete talks on that.”
In recent days Seoul has promoted the idea of a path toward a peace treaty to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War, which stopped with a cease-fire, but Im did not mention the issue.
Reunions of families left divided by the conflict could also be discussed, and Moon has told Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that he would raise the emotive subject of Japanese citizens kidnapped by the North’s agents.
Kim will be given a military honor guard on Friday and the two leaders will walk to the Peace House, a glass and concrete building on the southern side of the truce village of Panmunjom where the summit will be held.
Kim will sign the guest book before the morning session starts, Im said, describing the occasion as a “summit for peace and prosperity on the Korean peninsula.”
The North’s group will cross back to its side for lunch, and before the afternoon session Moon and Kim will together plant “a pine tree, which stands for peace and prosperity, on the (Military Demarcation Line), which has symbolized confrontation and division over the past 65 years,” Im said.
The soil will come from Mount Paektu, on the North’s border with China, and Mount Halla, on the South’s southern island of Jeju.
After they sign an agreement a joint statement will be issued.
“We are thinking it could be called the ‘Panmunjom Declaration’,” Im added.
A banquet and farewell ceremony will follow in the evening before Kim returns to the North.
Pyongyang’s delegation will include Kim’s sister Kim Yo Jong, one of his closest advisers, who attended the Winter Olympics in the South in February as his envoy.
The North’s ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam, who accompanied Yo Jong to the Games, will also be part of the group, as will its foreign and defense ministers.
“Unlike in the past, the delegation includes top military official and diplomats,” Im said.
“We did not expect this. We believe it signals that North Korea views the summit not just as a North-South summit but is also considering the US-North Korea summit.”