Both Koreas meet to arrange reunions of families split by war

Geraldine Edwards
June 23, 2018

The leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, met his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in in May in a surprise bilateral summit on the border between the two countries. Trump said afterward that he believes Kim is serious about giving up nuclear weapons and transforming his stunted economy.

Trump undoubtedly was referencing North Korea's demolition in late May of a nuclear test site at Punggye-ri in a remote area in the northeastern part of the country. It has not been confirmed whether the North Korean leader was on board.

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.

He hailed contacts between the two Koreas and the U.S.

Trump said Kim has stopped testing missiles, including ballistic missiles that could reach the United States, and is destroying the engine testing site - an apparent reference to Sohae.

Seoul has maintained the 12 women willingly settled in South Korea in 2016 but is now reviewing the circumstances following a media report suggesting at least some were brought against their will.

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A USA official said on Wednesday that the site Trump referred to then was the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground, a major facility in the western part of the country that has been used for testing engines for long-range missiles.

In the Cabinet meeting, Trump acknowledged that "things can change". "Maybe you don't", he said. The Russian leader has also invited North Korea's Kim Jong Un to the event, as well as the leaders of China and Japan.

Trump also prematurely claimed the return of remains of US servicemen missing from the 1950-53 Korean War.

Pompeo told the same Cabinet meeting Kim had made a personal commitment, and added: "He has got his reputation on the line".

The confident, optimistic language marked a complete reversal from Trump's criticism of Kim as "little Rocket Man" and his threats a year ago to deliver "fire and fury" to North Korea if necessary.

A stamp printed in North Korea shows Propaganda Liberation Army fighting USA troops, circa 1972.

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"That's OK. That's OK".

"Meanwhile, sanctions will remain in place until we are assured that complete denuclearization has been achieved", she said.

North and South Korea agreed Friday to hold temporary reunions of families divided by the 1950-53 Korean War as they boost reconciliation efforts amid a diplomatic push to resolve the North Korean nuclear crisis.

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.

The 200 people who will go to the reunion will have just three days to catch up before they return to their respective sides of the border, knowing that they will in all likelihood not see those family members again.

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