S.Korea’s Moon still hopes to host Kim this year

Moon and Kim have met three times in 2018. (File/AFP)
Updated 04 December 2018
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S.Korea’s Moon still hopes to host Kim this year

  • Moon said a visit by Kim to the South would also improve US-North Korea relations
  • Moon emphasised the impact Kim’s presence in South Korea would have on the two nations

AUCKLAND: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un could still visit Seoul for the first time in the next few weeks, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Tuesday, describing the possible trip as a major boost in efforts to make the peninsula nuclear-free.
Moon and Kim have met three times in 2018 amid warming ties between the two Koreas, with Seoul hoping to host a first-ever visit by Kim to the South before year’s end.
But prospects of another meeting in coming weeks have dimmed as denuclearization talks have stalled, prompting Moon to say that the planned visit’s timing should not overshadow its historic nature.
“There is a possibility that Chairman Kim Jong Un’s visit to Seoul may be made within this year, but there’s more important things than the timing,” he said in translated remarks during a visit to New Zealand.
“Whether it’s this year or not isn’t that important, what’s important is that the North Korea leader’s visit to South Korea will definitely accelerate the denuclearization process in the Korean peninsula.”
Moon said a visit by Kim to the South would also improve US-North Korea relations as Kim and President Donald Trump look to follow up their June summit in Singapore.
“I believe that our efforts will definitely give a positive impetus to the second US-North Korea summit meeting,” he said.
“President Trump and I share a view in that regard.”
Moon emphasised the impact Kim’s presence in South Korea would have on the two nations.
“This will be the first time that the North Korean leader will visit South Korea since Korea was divided into two countries,” he said.
“Although there’s no timeframe set, that’s still very meaningful. We can improve South and North Korean relations as well as attain permanent peace on the Korean peninsula and denuclearization.”
North and South Korea have begun to remove land mines and destroy some military bunkers along their common border as part of the detente.
However, Washington is taking a more cautious approach toward Pyongyang amid sparring over interpretation of a vaguely worded denuclearization document signed at the Singapore summit.
Trump said on Saturday that he hoped to organize a second summit with Kim in early 2019.


UN to adopt migration pact at meeting hit by withdrawals

Updated 5 min 50 sec ago
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UN to adopt migration pact at meeting hit by withdrawals

  • The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration was finalized at the UN in July after 18 months of talks and is due to be formally adopted at the conference
  • US disavowed the negotiations late last year, and since then Australia, Austria, the Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Poland and Slovakia have pulled out of the process

MARRAKESH, Morocco: Politicians from around the globe will gather Monday in Morocco for a major conference to endorse a United Nations migration pact, despite a string of withdrawals driven by anti-immigrant populism.
The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration was finalized at the UN in July after 18 months of talks and is due to be formally adopted with the bang of a gavel at the start of the two-day conference in Marrakesh.
The US government disavowed the negotiations late last year, and since then Australia, Austria, the Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Poland and Slovakia have pulled out of the process.
The US on Friday took a fresh swipe at the pact, labelling it “an effort by the United Nations to advance global governance at the expense of the sovereign right of states.”
But a host of other nations led by German Chancellor Angela Merkel are in Morocco to endorse the deal and the UN remains upbeat that it can help the world better cope with the hot-button issue.
On the eve of the conference, UN special representative for migration Louise Arbour hit back at the pact’s critics, insisting the document is not legally binding.
“It is surprising that there has been so much misinformation about what the compact is and what the text actually says,” she told reporters in Marrakesh.
“It creates no right to migrate. It places no imposition on states,” she said, adding that 159 member countries are due to attend the conference, including “around 100” represented by heads of state, heads of government or ministers.
But rows over the accord have erupted in several European Union nations, hobbling Belgium’s coalition government and pushing Slovakia’s foreign minister to tender his resignation.
From the United States to Europe and beyond, right-wing leaders have taken increasingly draconian measures to shut out migrants in recent years.
US President Donald Trump has pledged to build a wall on the US-Mexico border and has focused his recent ire on a migrant caravan from Central America, while a populist coalition government in Italy has clamped down on boats rescuing migrants at sea.
Beyond Merkel, among European nations the leaders of Spain, Greece, Denmark and Portugal are set to attend, although French President Emmanuel Macron is sending his secretary of state for foreign affairs as he deals with the “yellow vest” protests at home.
Belgium’s liberal premier Charles Michel won the support of parliament to head to Morocco and back the accord, but he was left leading a minority government on Sunday after the Flemish nationalist party said it will quit his coalition over the pact.
Belgium is among a group of seven nations described by Arbour as still “engaged in further internal deliberations” over the accord, with Bulgaria, Estonia, Italy, Israel, Slovenia and Switzerland also falling into this category.
Billed as the first international document on managing migration, the global pact lays out 23 objectives to open up legal migration and discourage illegal border crossings, as the number of people on the move globally has surged to more than 250 million.
But while welcoming the UN’s attempts to manage migration, activists argue that the pact does not go far enough to secure migrants’ rights.
“Unfortunately, the non-binding nature of the Global Compact on Migration makes its implementation solely based on the goodwill of states supporting it,” Amnesty International’s senior advocate for the Americas, Perseo Quiroz, said in comments emailed to AFP.
After the Marrakesh conference, the UN General Assembly is set to adopt a resolution formally endorsing the deal on Dec. 19.