Monday, 20 August 2018
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    Two Koreas’ Reconciliation

Syed Nasir Ershad
Two Koreas’ Reconciliation

Syed Nasir Ershad

In initial small steps toward reconciliation, South Korea expressed their willingness to remove loudspeakers that blared propaganda across the border, while North Korea said it would shift its clocks to align with its southern neighbour. The moves came after the historic summit late April 2018 at which South Korean President Moon Jae-in and the North’s leader Kim Jong Un agreed to end hostilities and work toward complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. South Korea turned off the loudspeakers that broadcast a mixture of news, Korean pop songs and criticism of the North Korean regime as a goodwill gesture ahead of the summit. It began removing the speakers on soon. They saw this as the easiest first step to build military trust, South Korean defense ministry spokesperson said. She further said that they were expecting the North’s implementation of their side of the commitment.
The feel-good summit has boosted South Koreans’ trust in North Korea, a recent poll there showed, even though the meeting’s final declaration left many questions unanswered, particularly what “denuclearisation” means or how that will be achieved. Much now hinges on North Korean leader’s upcoming summit with US President, who said the meeting could happen over the next three to four weeks. Any deal with the United States will require that North Korea demonstrate irreversible steps to shutting down its nuclear weapons program, US Secretary of State said. A flurry of diplomacy is unfolding in the lead-up to that meeting, with China saying it will send the government’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, to visit North Korea. China is the North’s main ally. On the other hand South Korea’s spy chief visited Tokyo to brief Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The summit, where North Korea’s Kim and South Korea’s Moon were seen on live TV smiling and even hugging, gave many South Koreans their first extended chance to see Kim in person, and many were struck by a self-deprecating and witty side they had never seen. A survey taken recently by Realmeter showing 64.7 per cent believe the North Korea will denuclearise and keep peace on the Korean peninsula. When asked if they trusted North Korea before the summit, only 14.7 per cent said they did. Some 28.3 per cent said they still do not trust Pyongyang. The results were released on recently. President Moon, meanwhile, has seen his approval rating rise to 70 per cent, its highest since mid-January, the research agency said.
Kim also told Moon during the summit he would soon invite experts and journalists from the United States and South Korea when the country dismantles its Punggye-ri nuclear testing site, the Blue House said. North Korea has conducted all six of its nuclear tests at the site, a series of tunnels dug into the mountains in the north-eastern part of the country. Some experts and researchers have speculated that the most recent—and by far largest—blast in September had rendered the entire site unusable. But Kim said there were two additional, larger tunnels that remain in very good condition beyond the existing one, which experts believe may have collapsed.
Fulfilling another pledge made at the summit in the border village of Panmunjom, North Korea will shift its time zone 30 minutes earlier to align with South Korea which started since May 5. They said the decision came after Kim found it a painful wrench to see two clocks showing different Pyongyang and Seoul times on a wall at the summit venue. The northern time zone was created in 2015 to mark the 70th anniversary of Korea’s liberation from Japanese rule after the Second World War. South Korea and Japan are in the same time zone, nine hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. However, it is not a symbolic meaning that the north and the south were becoming united, but it was just a process in which the north and the south turned their different and separated things into the same and single ones.

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