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Koreas agree to hold reunions for war-separated families in August

23 June, 2018, 01:30 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • Is Kim trading a war-games suspension for sanctions relief in Beijing?

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in agreed during a summit in April to hold the family reunions about August 15, the anniversary of the Korean Peninsula's independence from Japanese colonial rule at the end of World War II in 1945.

'They've already blown up one of their big test sites.

North Korea announced before the Singapore summit the suspension of its ICBM testing and also closed its nuclear bomb test site, where it conducted several explosions in front of visiting media that it said were to destroy testing tunnels.

Trump said at a Cabinet meeting in the White House that "They've stopped the sending of missiles, including ballistic missiles". It is separate from USA sanctions related to North Korean human rights abuses and a long list of worldwide penalties imposed over Pyongyang's nuclear and ballistic missile testing.

The Koreas last held family reunions in 2015 before relations worsened because of North Korea's accelerated pursuit of nuclear long-range missiles and the countering hard-line policies of Seoul's conservative then-government. Although the Singapore declaration said this would happen immediately, USA officials have given no indication that North Korea has committed to any specific timetable for the return.

New U.S. Indo-Pacific military commander (INDOPACOM) Adm. Phillip Davidson reviews an honor guard at the Defense Ministry in Tokyo, Japan, June 21, 2018.

Stella Kim reported from Seoul, and Alastair Jamieson reported from London.




In the Cabinet meeting, Trump acknowledged that "things can change". South Korean analysts say North Korea allows only infrequent reunions for fear of wasting what it sees as an important diplomatic bargaining chip. He said both he and Pompeo had established a "very strong" relationship with Kim that he thought would lead to "tremendous success".

Trump and Kim also agreed on the repatriation of the remains of American soldiers killed during the 1950-1953 Korean War. Going into the summit, Pyongyang repeatedly rejected unilateral nuclear disarmament.

North Korea conducted satellite launches into space from Sohae in 2012 and 2016, drawing worldwide condemnation as the rocket technology used could be adapted for use with ballistic missiles.

The US has said that there will be no sanctions relief until Pyongyang's denuclearization.

"The existence and risk of proliferation of weapons-usable fissile material on the Korean Peninsula and the actions and policies of the Government of North Korea continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States", the notice read.

As for the anti-American propaganda, that started to disappear in May during the weeks leading up to Kim's June 12 meeting with US President Donald Trump.

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