Pax Christi International has welcomed today's first step towards rapprochement between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
In a statement they say: "This summit will make history if it enables the two parties to come to the negotiating table and lays a foundation for peace. We hope that the Singapore summit can lead to new relations between the two countries. Dialogue, diplomacy and cooperation should replace hostile behaviour. Durable progress on denuclearisation and peace should also include South Korea, Japan and China.
"Although the two leaders' joint statement declares their commitment to the peace and prosperity of the Korean Peninsula and the world, Pax Christi International regrets the absence of more specific commitments towards that goal. Essential points are missing in the document that should be taken up if future talks are to actually lead towards disarmament and a durable peace:
• Both countries should take conclusive steps towards complete and verifiable denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, not only North Korea. The peninsula is not denuclearised if it remains under threat from U.S. nuclear weapons.
• Both the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea should join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) and North Korea should rejoin the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). This is part of a five-step proposal for disarmament (see: www.icanw.org/action/trump-kim-summit-ican-launches-roadmap-to-denuclearisation-of-korean-peninsula/ ) issued by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) which includes Pax Christi International.
• The US and North Korea should pursue the successful completion of a peace treaty between both Koreas to replace the armistice from the Korean War, also as a follow-up of the historic Panmunjom Declaration of 27 April 2018.
• The US should raise concerns for human rights in North Korea as a condition to lift economic sanctions. Amongst other human rights abuses, up to 120,000 people continue to be arbitrarily detained in political prison camps (See: www.amnesty.org/en/countries/asia-and-the-pacific/north-korea/ )
It is imperative that human rights are taken up in future talks, as their protection is intrinsically linked to peace and security.
Importantly, this outcome opens doors for confidence-building measures and dialogue among all interested parties. Pax Christi International urges the two Koreas, the US, China, Japan and Russia to add to the momentum created since the Winter Olympics by implementing bilateral and multilateral follow-up actions, for example, by opening the railroad line between North and South Korea, having new nuclear weapons reduction talks between the US and Russia, and the US and North Korea deciding to open offices in their capital cities before the end of 2018."