North-South Korea Relations
The first defense white paper released during the administration of South Korean President Moon Jae-in deleted a phrase about the North Korean regime and military being the “enemy” of South Korea. The white paper placed new emphasis on South and North Korea pursuing military confidence-building, meaningful arms control and incremental arms reduction.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in predicted a reciprocal visit to Seoul by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un would come happen once second North Korea-US summit has been held.
A collective of farmers and civic groups in North Chungcheong Province began their campaign to donate farming equipment to North Korean farmers on Jan. 11. The tractors are “an initial step toward an era where people, supplies and information can freely cross the border,” they announced.
South Korea’s National Security Office Director Chung Eui-yong said on Jan. 15 that currently deadlocked talks with the US on the two sides’ respective shares of defense costs “are experiencing difficulties because of the two sides’ positions, and moreover because the US suddenly demanded conditions that are utterly unacceptable to us during the final stages of the negotiations.”
This past weekend, U.S. President Donald Trump reportedly sent a personal letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Kim Yong-chol, vice-chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) and head of the WPK’s United Front Department, is expected to visit Washington, D.C., as early as Jan. 17 or 18 to hold high-level talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that planning is underway on the specifics of the second summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
During their fourth summit, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Chinese President Xi Jinping appear to have adopted a two-track strategy of separating the negotiations for creating a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula from the North Korea-US negotiations about denuclearization and normalizing relations, some experts say.
Japan has officially requested bilateral discussions with the South Korean government as part of dispute settlement procedures according to the two sides’ Claims Settlement Agreement (1965) in response to a South Korean court’s decision to approve a request for the seizure of Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal’s assets in South Korea, which was submitted by attorneys representing victims of forced labor mobilization during the colonial era.
SOUTH KOREA NEWS
The Ministry of Patriots and Veterans’ Affairs (MPVA) is undertaking an effort to register Korea’s March 1 Independence Movement of 1919 on the UNESCO Memory of the World Programme for the movement’s centennial this year. It marks the first time the South Korean government has directly taken part in an effort to include the movement in the program.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the April 3 Uprising and Massacre in Jeju Island. A tragedy of contemporary South Korean history, the event had an estimated death toll between 25,000 and over 30,000 – representing 10% of Jeju Island’s population at the time.
Over the past decade, the pro-Japanese actions of Ahn Eak-tai (1906–65) – the composer of South Korea’s national anthem, called “Aegukga” – have continued to come to light. But what if Ahn wasn’t just pro-Japanese but also had close ties to the Nazis?
Exports of kimchi have been rising steadily in recent years, reaching $97.5 million last year, up 20 percent from the previous year, data from the South Korean Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs showed Jan. 16.
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