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One year since Pyeongyang Declaration, denuclearization talks see little progress Updated: 2019-09-18 16:47:34 KST

Exactly a year ago on September 19th.
The historic day when President Moon Jae-in traveled to the North's capital of Pyeongyang for his third summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

"Here, at this place today, I propose we move forward toward the big picture of peace in which the past 70-year-long hostility can be eradicated and we can become one again."

They made significant agreements that they jointly declared to the rest of the world.
And denuclearization was discussed as an official agenda at an inter-Korean summit for the very first time.
It produced some concrete measures, with the North agreeing to permanently dismantle its nuclear facilities at the Yeongbyeon nuclear complex.

"We have agreed to make the Korean Peninsula a land of peace, free from nuclear threats."

But one year later
The Yeongbyeon complex remains as it is.
No roadmaps or timetables for nuclear disarmament have been made.
No sanctions have been eased, either.
Instead, there's North Korea's blunt criticism toward the South, and its series of short range missile tests.

At the core of the stalemate, is the no-deal summit between North Korea and the U.S. in Hanoi in February.
U.S. President Donald Trump walked away after Kim refused to abandon all of Pyeongyang's nuclear programs.
They also disagreed on the scope of the lifting of sanctions.
The long stalemate has been a challenge for President Moon.

"What the Moon administration can do at the moment is quite limited by the fact that North Korea publicly came out that South Korea should stay out of negotiations between Washington and Pyeongyang. South Korea, by staying out of the negotiations between Washington and Pyeongyang, it actually gives some political leverage, meaning that that if ultimately, the talks break down, South Korea can actually have a chance to restart the talks from a different angle. That's because it's not politically involved at the moment."

Patience and consistency.
Despite the challenges, President Moon chooses to stay committed to his efforts to achieve peace and denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.

"Our administration will do everything we can to usher in a future of co-prosperity by establishing peace on the Korean Peninsula and creating a "peace economy"."

North Korea remains willing to negotiate.
This is shown by Kim turning up for a last-minute trilateral meeting at Panmunjeom and the numerous letters exchanged with President Trump.
The Blue House is cautiously observing these recent developments, anticipating a new phase in Pyeongyang-Washington talks that hopefully leads to improved inter-Korean relations.

Park Hee-jun, Arirang News.
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