Korea seeks to become global hot spot, general says

World | 25 Oct 2018 6:25 pm

A top North Korean general said today the country seeks a "stable peace” and wants to turn the Korean Peninsula into "the cradle of peace and prosperity,” furthering a departure from the bellicose language of the past.

Vice Minister of the People’s Armed Forces, Col. Gen Kim Hyong Ryong, told a defense forum in Beijing that Pyongyang wanted to "contribute to the security of Asia and the globe.”

"It is our unwavering stand to lead the current state of tension ... into stable peace and turn the Korean Peninsula that was once the hottest spot in the globe into the cradle of peace and prosperity,” Kim told participants at the opening session of the Xiangshan Forum hosted by China.

Kim said North Korea was following through on agreements reached with South Korea and the U.S., including the consensus reached with U.S. President Donald Trump at a June summit in Singapore.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has this year taken some steps to ease tensions, including dismantling a nuclear testing site. However, the United States and its allies are reluctant to ease sanctions pressure unless the country takes significant disarmament steps.

While the Singapore declaration has been criticized as vague, tensions along the North and South Korean border have dropped, as witnessed by a joint effort to remove mines from one of the heaviest Korean War battle sites at their border.

That is among a package of agreements the Koreas’ defense ministers struck on the sidelines of their leaders’ summit last month.

Kim Hyong Ryong met today with South Korean Vice Defense Minister Suh Choo Suk at the forum. During their 10-minute encounter, the two reconfirmed their countries’ plans to quickly carry out the agreements reached last month, Seoul’s Defense Ministry said in a statement.

At a later discussion at the forum, a North Korean official said progress on reducing tensions merited the cancellation of United Nations sanctions and other forms of pressure.-AP

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