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Meeting between Koreas a 'good start': expert

FILE - In this April 27, 2018 file photo, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in talk at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone, South Korea. Despite its feel-good emphasis on relationship-building, the first inter-Korean summit in more than a decade left a lot of question marks around the biggest and most contentious agenda item of them all: denuclearization. And that puts the ball squarely in the court of President Donald Trump, whose much anticipated sit-down with Kim is expected to be just weeks away.(Korea Summit Press Pool via AP, File)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A meeting between the leaders of North and South Korea is being described as a good start by a local expert, who adds the summit and pledge to denuclearize has set the stage for negotiations involving the United States.

Don Baker with the Centre for Korean Research at UBC says it was encouraging to see that Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae-in can talk freely with each other.

While the Korean leaders agreed to denuclearize the peninsula, Baker says Kim didn’t specify what he would do to get there.

“There’s still a real potential that the meeting between Trump and Kim Jong Un — if it goes off — won’t work very well because of the misunderstanding of exactly what denuclearization means,” he tells NEWS 1130. “And of course what denuclearization means to Donald Trump is for North korea to give up his nukes. That’s not what it means to Kim Jong Un. It means to Kim Jong Un to get nuclear weapons out of all east Asia, okay, North Korean weapons and American weapons, so.”

Baker thinks a trip to Washington, DC, beforehand by a South Korean representative could help, but he’s not sure if Trump will have the same ability as Moon Jae-in to deal with Kim.

The Korean Peninsula technically remains in a state of war because the 1950-53 Korean War was halted with an armistice, not a peace treaty.

North Korea has invited the outside world to witness the dismantling of its nuclear facilities before. In June 2008, international broadcasters were allowed to air the demolition of a cooling tower at the Nyongbyon reactor site, a year after the North reached an agreement with the US and four other nations to disable its nuclear facilities in return for an aid package worth about $400 million.

But the deal eventually collapsed after North Korea refused to accept US-proposed verification methods, and the country went on to conduct its second nuclear test detonation in May 2009.

Yoon said Kim also revealed plans to sync its time zone with South Korea’s. The Koreas had used the same time zone for decades before the North created its own “Pyongyang Time” in 2015 by setting the clock 30 minutes behind South Korea and Japan.

Yoon said the North’s decision to return to Seoul’s time zone was aimed at facilitating communication with South Korea and the US.