South Korea’s Moon calls for ‘bold decisions’ ahead of Kim summit

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un (C) gestures as he meets with US President Donald Trump (R) at the start of their historic US-North Korea summit, at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore. (File/AFP)
Updated 11 September 2018
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South Korea’s Moon calls for ‘bold decisions’ ahead of Kim summit

  • President Moon Jae-in’s comments come days before he’s to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for the third time this year
  • Moon said Kim and Trump must think broadly and “make bold decisions” to move the diplomacy forward

SEOUL, South Korea: South Korea’s president on Tuesday urged both North Korea and the United States to “make bold decisions” to break a deepening diplomatic impasse over the North’s nuclear ambitions, saying he’ll continue to act as mediator.
President Moon Jae-in’s comments come days before he’s to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for the third time this year to discuss how to achieve denuclearization and peace on the Korean Peninsula. Moon said the summit must lead to another “big step” toward denuclearization.
The talks come at a crucial moment in the overall diplomacy, which is currently stuck amid recriminations between Washington and Pyongyang on how to follow through on vows made at a summit in June between Kim and President Donald Trump to rid the North of its nuclear weapons.
During a Cabinet meeting Tuesday, Moon said Kim and Trump must think broadly and “make bold decisions” to move the diplomacy forward and get North Korea to dismantle its nuclear arsenal.
“North Korea must carry out its nuclear dismantling and the United States must take a corresponding step,” Moon said. “Under such a process, the two countries must pull back their deep-rooted mutual distrust caused by their 70 years of hostile relations.”
North Korea has dismantled its nuclear and rocket engine testing sites, but US officials have demanded more serious steps. Kim has reportedly said that his efforts must be reciprocated by corresponding US measures such as a joint declaration to end the 1950-53 Korean War.
Moon said South Korea has no choice but to mediate between the two countries to promote dialogue, saying both Trump and Kim have asked him to play such a role. He wants “genuine talks” between Washington and Pyongyang to resume soon.
During a visit to Seoul on Tuesday, Steve Biegun, the new US special envoy on North Korea, stressed the need to maintain nuclear diplomacy.
“We have some hard work to do. But we also have tremendous opportunity created by President Trump, by President Moon and by Chairman Kim. We need to do everything we can to make the most of this moment of opportunity,“ Biegun said at the start of his meeting with South Korean nuclear envoy Lee Do-hoon.
South Korean officials said Kim recently told them that he remains committed to a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula and said he still has faith in Trump. The White House said Monday that Trump received a request from Kim to schedule a second meeting between them to follow up on their June summit and that planning is in motion to make it happen.
But it’s unclear whether deadlocked nuclear diplomacy will be resolved anytime soon. During his earlier summits with Trump and Moon, Kim made vague disarmament pledges without revealing a detailed road map or timetable for his denuclearization process.
The Koreas will hold military talks on Thursday and are pushing to open a liaison office at a North Korean border city on Friday, Seoul officials said, as part of cooperation efforts between the rivals ahead of the summit. 
Thursday’s military talks will deal with issues to ease tensions along their border, such as disarming a jointly controlled area at Panmunjom, removing front-line guard posts and conducting joint searches for soldiers missing from the Korean War, according to South Korea’s Defense Ministry.
When Kim met South Korean envoys last week, the sides agreed to try to find ways to build up mutual trust and prevent armed clashes between their militaries, according to South Korean officials.


Families bury victims as Tanzania ferry disaster toll passes 200

Updated 24 min 19 sec ago
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Families bury victims as Tanzania ferry disaster toll passes 200

  • Divers were also set to continue their grim search in the waters around the boat
  • With a surface area of 70,000 square kilometers, Lake Victoria is roughly the size of Ireland and is shared by Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya

UKARA, Tanzania: Grieving families were on Sunday preparing to bury victims of Tanzania’s devastating ferry disaster, with more than 200 confirmed dead after the crowded boat capsized in Lake Victoria.
Hopes were fading of finding any more survivors three days after the ferry sank on Thursday, even after rescuers pulled out an engineer who had managed to find refuge in an air pocket in the upturned vessel.
“We are going to start burying bodies not yet identified by relatives,” said John Mongella, governor of Mwanza region, where the MV Nyerere ferry had been coming in to dock on the island of Ukara.
“The (burial) ceremony will be overseen by Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa, in the presence of clergy members of different denominations,” Mongella said Saturday on TBC 1 public television.
Divers were also set to continue their grim search in the waters around the boat, where late Saturday they were watched by anxious crowds gathered just meters (yards) away on Ukara’s shore.
Mongella said 218 people had been confirmed dead, while 41 escaped the tragedy with their lives — a total figure far above the official capacity of the boat, which was in theory only able to carry 101 passengers.
One survivor was an engineer who shut himself into a “special room” with enough air for him to stay alive until he was found, said local lawmaker Joseph Mkundi.
Transport Minister Isack Kamwelwe said on Saturday that 172 of the victim’s bodies had been identified by relatives.
State television cited witnesses reporting that more than 200 people had boarded the ferry at Bugolora, a town on the larger Ukerewe Island. It was market day, which usually sees the vessel packed with people and goods.
Witnesses told AFP the ferry sank when passengers rushed to one side to disembark as it approached the dock. Others blamed the captain, saying he had made a brusque maneuver.
Dozens of wooden coffins lined the shore on Saturday, waiting to be seen by families as police and volunteers sought to keep hundreds of curious locals at bay.
Aisha William came to collect the body of her husband. “He left on Tuesday around noon, but he never came home. I do not know how I am going to raise my two children,” she said.
Ahmed Caleb, a 27-year-old trader, railed at a tragedy “which could have been prevented. I’ve lost my boss, friends, people I went to school with,” he sighed.
The aging vessel, whose hull and propellers were all that remained visible above water, was also carrying cargo, including sacks of maize, bananas and cement, when it capsized.
Tanzanian President John Magufuli on Friday ordered the arrest of the ferry’s management and declared four days of national mourning.
In a speech broadcast on TBC 1, Magufuli said “it appears clear that the ferry was overloaded,” adding that the government would cover the funeral expenses of the victims.
With a surface area of 70,000 square kilometers, oval-shaped Lake Victoria is roughly the size of Ireland and is shared by Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya.
It is not uncommon for ferries to capsize in the lake, and the number of fatalities is often high due to a shortage of life jackets and the fact that many people in the region cannot swim.