SEOUL – South Korea’s foreign minister – a key player in this week’s inter-Korean summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in – said that a high-stakes meeting between President Trump and Kim could end North Korea’s growing nuclear and missile threat.
“It does indicate,” South Korea Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha told Fox News, “that we have an historic opportunity to resolve the North Korean nuclear and missile threat once and for all.”
She acknowledged that re-starting talks with the top leaders, on all sides, was unusual diplomacy. But brushed off the idea that it was risky.
“It has been an unusual process,” she noted, “but perhaps the lessons of the past 25 years of negotiations and agreements and agreements broke….are basically 25 years of failure.”
The foreign minister is one of several Seoul officials backing the South Korean president as he faces off against North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The two were expected to meet in person at the border on Friday. It would be the third time the two Koreas have met since the two nations divided in 1948. The last summit was in 2007.
While it was unclear what early commitments Kim would make regarding getting rid of his nukes, Kang sounded determined.
“Our goal is complete, peaceful denuclearization,” she said. “Kim Jong Un has indicated as long as he is guaranteed security then he doesn’t need nuclear weapons.”
But she stressed that a peace mission, while urgent, probably would not be achieved in a few summits.
“The urgency of resolving the issue is something we all share,” she said. “What the time frame will be will come from discussions at the summit level.”
As President Moon’s partner in this peace mission, Minister Kang gives President Trump a lot of credit.
“I think clearly he saw this as an immediate, the most challenging global security agenda, not just for the United States but for the whole world,” she said.
She said President Trump’s tough talk on North Korea has not negatively impacted peace talks.
“The daily messaging is one thing,” she said. “The longer-term effect of those messages is what really mattered and it has forced the North Korean leader to change his calculations.”