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.


Pakistan reopens airspace to civil aviation after India standoff

Updated 16 July 2019
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Pakistan reopens airspace to civil aviation after India standoff

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan opened its airspace to civil aviation on Tuesday, following months of restrictions imposed in the wake of a standoff with neighboring India.
“With immediate effect Pakistan airspace is open for all type of civil traffic on published ATS (Air Traffic Service) routes,” according to a so-called Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) published on the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority’s website.
The move by Pakistan, which lies in the middle of a vital aviation corridor, offers a welcome break for international airlines after the airspace restrictions affected hundreds of commercial and cargo flights each day, adding to flight time for passengers and fuel costs for airlines.
India’s ministry of civil aviation said that after the lifting of the NOTAMS, there were no further restrictions on airspace in either country.
“Flights have started using the closed air routes, bringing a significant relief for airlines,” it said.
Pakistan closed its airspace in February after an attack by a Pakistan-based militant group in Indian-controlled Kashmir led to an armed standoff between the two nuclear-armed powers.
Both countries carried out aerial attacks over the other’s territory and warplanes fought a brief dogfight over the skies of the disputed Kashmir region during which an Indian fighter jet was shot down.
Partial operations at Pakistani airports resumed once the immediate crisis passed but restrictions continued to affect many international carriers using Pakistani airspace.
Pakistan’s announcement came hours after United Airlines Holdings Inc. said it was extending the suspension of its flights from the United States to Delhi and Mumbai in India until Oct. 26, citing continued restrictions of Pakistani airspace.