ASIA/SOUTH KOREA - Third inter-Korean summit: "Hope and confidence increase"

Tuesday, 18 September 2018 peace   justice   dialogue  

Seoul (Agenzia Fides) - "Our hope and the hope for all Koreans is increasing. This third summit is an event that I would define as extraordinary. Concrete steps are being taken towards peace and reconciliation. Today we have great confidence in the two leaders": this is what Fr. Moses Ildeuk Kim, OFM, Secretary of the Province of Friars Minor said to Agenzia Fides, commenting on the trip of South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who arrived today in Pyongyang for the third meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The leaders of the two Koreas warmly embraced each other, and according to the official North Korean news agency KCNA, the summit "will offer an important opportunity to further accelerate the development of inter-Korean relations that are producing a new story".
The trip will last three days. Moon and Kim already met in April and then last May in the demilitarized Zone that divides the two Koreas. During the next summit in Singapore in June, North Korean leader Kim met US president Donald Trump.
Moon Jae-in's visit to the North is part of the process of dialogue that South Korean president strongly promoted and that leader Kim accepted as an opportunity to try to free himself from international sanctions by launching a denuclearization program.
"This delicate and complicated process - notes Fr. Moses - could be the major obstacle to overcome, regarding the path to obtain the desired peace. It is an aspect that involves relations with the United States. But, in a positive atmosphere and mutual trust, I am convinced that the obstacles can be overcome. Peace is indeed the greatest common good".
The Franciscans in Korea, says the friar, "have always been active promoters and supporters of the peace and reconciliation process. Now, with the new conditions established, and while continuing to improve communications between North and South Korea, we will be able to try to visit North Korea again and restart cooperation projects and nurture communion in the near future. Our vocation and mission is to build a culture of peace and brotherhood".
There are three issues under discussion at the summit in North Korea: the first is the continuation of the path taken with the declaration of Panmunjeom of 27 April, which has already led to the opening of a first joint office in Kaesong, to improve relations between the two countries through humanitarian and economic projects; the second issue addressed is that of the negotiations between Kim and the United States, on the process of denuclearization of the peninsula; the third theme is disarmament, to reduce the military means deployed at the border. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 18/9/2018)