S. Korea activists write to Trump for "mutual, phased, and simultaneous actions" with N. Korea

Yuri Kov, June 27, 2019, 9:44 a.m.

Progressive South Korean activists sent a letter to U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday, calling for "mutual, phased and simultaneous actions" to move forward nuclear talks and peace-building with North Korea.

Trump is scheduled to visit Seoul on Saturday to hold a summit with his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in, the following day on North Korea's nuclear program. Both traveled to Osaka, Japan, to attend a Group of 20 summit.

"It is nearly impossible for two countries that have considered each other enemies for nearly seven decades to trust each other completely on the first try," 27 civil society organizations said in the English-language letter.

"Mutual, phased and simultaneous actions toward meeting each other at least half way are necessary for trust to develop."

The groups, including People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD), made the letter public in a news conference at Gwanghwamun Square in central Seoul before sending it to the U.S. Embassy in Seoul.

Expressing hopes for the resumption of nuclear talks, they called for a parallel process of the North's denuclearization and the U.S.' renouncement of an "extended nuclear deterrence" policy.

They noted that Washington's unilateral demand for the North to denuclearize first will not work. "Efforts to build a permanent peace regime here, such as signing a peace treaty or a non-aggression agreement, and normalizing relations between the DPRK and the U.S. must be paralleled."

Hopes are growing for the resumption of nuclear talks that have been at an impasse since the no-deal second summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi in February.

This month Trump and Kim exchanged personal letters. Moon said Wednesday the U.S. has been engaged in behind-the-scenes dialogue with the North for a possible third summit.

The groups demanded Trump implement his agreement made with Kim in their first summit in Singapore last year to improve ties, build a lasting peace on the peninsula and work toward complete denuclearization.

They also requested that the U.S. lift sanctions related to humanitarian aid on the North, saying the sanctions "have made it almost impossible to deliver humanitarian aid to those most in need."

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