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.


Pakistan PM’s defense of the political U-turn sparks mirth

Updated 5 min 54 sec ago
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Pakistan PM’s defense of the political U-turn sparks mirth

  • The opposition has branded the Pakistani PM as ‘U-turn Khan’
  • Some supporters attempted to explain that Khan was misusing the term “U-turn,” and simply meant that leaders must be flexible

ISLAMABAD: Margaret Thatcher was famously not for turning, but Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan has declared U-turns to be a “hallmark of great leadership,” in comments provoking criticism from opponents and a slew of jokes from Pakistanis.
Khan, the cricketer-turned-premier, has come under fire since he took office in August for a string of apparent about-faces.
They include backtracking from his claim that as prime minister he would only fly by commercial airliner, caving to Islamist pressure over his decision to appoint a member of a persecuted religious minority as an economic adviser, and allying himself with politicians he has previously declared corrupt.
With the opposition branding him ‘U-turn Khan’, he has defended himself to journalists.
“Both Hitler and Napoleon faced defeat as they did not change their strategies according to the situation... Leaders should always be ready to take U-turns,” he was quoted as saying by the English-language daily Dawn newspaper on Saturday.
Some supporters attempted to explain that Khan was misusing the term “U-turn,” and simply meant that leaders must be flexible.
“While dictators find it difficult to do course correction, leading their countries into disaster, democratic leaders have ability to do timely course correction when needed!” wrote human rights minister Shireen Mazari.
But the comments ignited social media, especially after Khan doubled down on his statement with a fresh tweet on Sunday.
“Doing a U-turn to reach one’s objective is the hallmark of great leadership just as lying to save ill-gotten wealth is the hallmark of crooks,” he wrote.

The tweet prompted a wave of jokes on Twitter.
“I was going to take a bath. I took U turn when I realized that water is cold,” tweeted one user from Peshawar.
“This morning I woke up to drink tea, then I took a U turn and slept again. Now, I have become a real leader,” tweeted another.
Others posted memes including an image of a circular racetrack captioned “Road to Leadership.”
Khan did not appear to respond, but his party’s official Twitter account posted a video clip of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos stating: “People who are right a lot change their minds.”