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More constructive moves needed in Korea talks

THE world continues to watch developments in the relations between the United States (US) and North Korea (NK) since the summit meeting between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un last June 12 in Singapore.

After that meeting between the two leaders, lower officials met in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying later in Tokyo, Japan, that the discussions with senior official Kim Yong Chol had been productive, conducted in good faith, but more work needed to be done.

Hours after he said this, however, the North Korean foreign ministry criticized Washington’s “gangster-like” demands aimed at forcing North Korea to abandon nuclear weapons. “We had expected that the US side would offer constructive measures that would help build trust, based on the spirit of the leaders’ summit. However, the attitude and stance the United States showed in the first high-level meeting was no doubt regrettable. Our expectations and hopes were so naive, it could be called foolish.”

North Korea, after originally declaring its commitment to the “denuclearization” of the entire Korean Peninsula, meaning both North and South Korea, had expected to hear “constructive measures” from the US. Perhaps it was hoping to hear what the US could do to help the situation, perhaps to help North Korea. Instead, it seems, US attention was fixed on what North Korea could do to get rid of its nuclear weapons.

In Tokyo, US ally Japan declared it stands by its commitment to implement United Nations economic sanctions against North Korea until it abandons its nuclear and missile programs.

Despite all the negativity that has come out lately in the peace talks, we hope cooler heads will prevail and more rational and constructive statements will come out from each side as well as from interested quarters on the sidelines. More than demands, we hope to hear offers, constructive proposals. No side should expect to win it all.

The face-to-face meeting on June 12 between President Trump and Kim Jong-Un raised such great hopes for peace to end the decades-long state of war that continues to this day despite the end of the Korean War in 1953. Before Trump, Kim had met with SK President Moon Jae-In on May 26 in a cordial atmosphere at the Demilitarized Zone that separates the two Koreas.

The hopes that were raised in those two meetings of the leaders should not now be dashed by lower officials discussing the details of an agreement that the whole world, including us in the Philippines, awaits.

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