South Korea’s Moon Jae-in seeks fourth summit with Kim Jong Un

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, hosts South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the Samjiyon guesthouse near Mount Paektu, the spiritual birthplace of the Korean nation, in this September 20, 2018 photo. (Korean Central News Agency via KNS/AFP)
Updated 15 April 2019
0

South Korea’s Moon Jae-in seeks fourth summit with Kim Jong Un

  • Moon Jae-in willing to go anywhere to meet Kim Jong Un for a fourth summit
  • Kim Jong Un earlier said he was open to a third meeting with US President Donald Trump if Washington offered ‘mutually acceptable terms’

SEOUL: South Korean President Moon Jae-in is willing to go anywhere to meet Kim Jong Un for a fourth summit, he said Monday, hailing the North Korean leader’s willingness to salvage high-stakes talks with the United States.
Kim said Friday he was open to a third meeting with US President Donald Trump if Washington offered “mutually acceptable terms” after their second summit in Hanoi broke down in part over Pyongyang’s demands for immediate sanctions relief.
Moon, who brokered the talks between Washington and Pyongyang, welcomed Kim’s “firm commitment for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula” and called for what would be his fourth meeting with the North’s leader.
“As soon as North Korea is ready, I hope the two Koreas will be able to sit down together, regardless of venue and form,” Moon told a meeting with his top aides.
“I will spare no effort to ensure that the upcoming inter-Korean summit becomes a stepping stone for an even bigger opportunity and a more significant outcome.”
The remarks come after Moon’s brief summit with Trump at the White House last week as he tries to reignite the stalled diplomacy.
Moon, who has long backed engagement with the nuclear-armed North, has been pushing for the resumption of inter-Korean economic projects, but doing so would fall foul of international sanctions imposed on Pyongyang.
Trump and Kim held their first landmark summit in Singapore last June, where they signed a vaguely-worded agreement on the “denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”
The failure to reach agreement at their second summit in Hanoi has raised questions over the future of the accord.
Washington has blamed the deadlock on the North’s demands for sanctions relief in return for limited nuclear disarmament, but Pyongyang said it had wanted only some of the measures eased.
In a speech to Pyongyang’s rubber-stamp parliament on Friday, Kim said the Hanoi meeting raised questions about Washington’s intention but added he will wait until the end of the year for the US to make “a courageous decision.”
Trump has welcomed further talks with Kim, insisting their personal relationship was “excellent.”


Macron meets Syrian Kurds, vows French support in fight against Daesh

Updated 36 min 22 sec ago
0

Macron meets Syrian Kurds, vows French support in fight against Daesh

  • Macron assured the SDF representatives, who were not named, of the "active support of France in the fight against Daesh which continues to be a menace for collective security"
  • European capitals are all keeping a careful eye on the Daesh prisoners held by the SDF after the defeat of the extremists, given many are dual nationals

PARIS: President Emmanuel Macron on Friday hosted representatives of the Kurdish-led force that defeated Daesh extremists in Syria, assuring them of France's support in the fight against remaining extremists.
The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) had in late March flushed out Daesh from their last bastion in Syria but still warn the terrorists remain a threat in places.
The SDF is an umbrella force of Kurds and Arabs dominated by Kurds from the People's Protection Units (YPG) militia. It is regarded with huge distrust by neighbouring Turkey which sees the YPG as a terror group.
Macron assured the SDF representatives, who were not named, of the "active support of France in the fight against Daesh which continues to be a menace for collective security," the presidency said in a statement.
Particularly important was the support in the "handling of terrorist fighters held as prisoners along with their families."
European capitals are all keeping a careful eye on the Daesh prisoners held by the SDF after the defeat of the extremists, given many are dual nationals.
Macron also vowed that financial support would be allocated to "respond to the humanitarian needs and the socio-economic stabilisation of civilian populations in Syria."
The SDF were the key ally of the West in defeating Daesh and waged the bulk of the fighting on the ground.
But they fear being abandoned by their patrons now Daesh is beaten, after US President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of American forces from Syria.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian had in April announced one million euros ($1.1 million) in humanitarian aid for camps housing displaced people, notably Al-Hol which holds thousands of women and children who lived in Daesh-held areas.
France's past contacts with the SDF's Syrian Kurds have angered Turkey, which regards the YPG as the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
The PKK has waged a 35-year insurrection against the Turkish state.
Macron also made clear of the importance to Paris of "the security of Turkey and a de-escalation along the Syrian-Turkish border," the presidency said.