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S Korea newspapers welcome summit as 'first step' toward peace

AFP  |  Seoul 

Most South Korean newspapers reacted with cautious optimism today to the historic meeting between and in Singapore, although one conservative daily denounced the agreement it produced as "absurd".

The centrist daily noted that the post-summit joint statement signed by the and North Korean leader on Tuesday had omitted Washington's demand for a "complete, verifiable, irreversible" denuclearisation of the North and lacked a concrete timetable to achieve that goal.

Instead the statement commits to "work toward complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula".

"In terms of the key issue... it may appear that the result failed to meet expectations," said in an editorial.

But it added that the concrete steps of dismantling the North's nuclear arsenal would be handled during follow-on negotiations, and that negotiations for a nuclear-free and permanent peace between and had "just begun".

The pro-business Joongang daily was cautiously optimistic, even though the timetable for the dismantling of Pyongyang's nuclear weapons remained vague.

"We can't dismiss the summit as a failure. It is already a historic event that the leaders of two foes have met. The first step to end decades of hostilities since the Korean War has been made", Joongang said.

However, the conservative Chosun daily lambasted the agreement signed by Trump and Kim.

"The June 12 agreement is so outrageous and absurd that we could hardly believe our eyes," it said in an editorial.

The paper attacked Trump for promising to stop annual US-joint military drills before the North had started dismantling its nuclear arsenal.

Its view was echoed by the conservative opposition Liberty Korea Party, whose leader castigated the summit as a "great failure".

But an editorial in the left-leaning praised the summit as opening a new chapter for a "great change" in US-ties.

The stoppage of the US-drills, which the North says are rehearsals for aggression against it, will serve as "a catalyst" in improving ties between the two Cold War foes and denuclearisation of the North, it said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, June 13 2018. 10:40 IST