South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Monday that President Trump deserves to win a Nobel Peace Prize for his role in talks to denuclearize the Korean peninsula and end the decades-long war between the North and South. Moon’s comment, as reported by Reuters, came following a congratulatory message from Lee Hee-ho, the widow of late South Korean President Kim Dae-jung, where she said Moon deserved to win the prize for his work with North Korea. Moon’s response was that Trump, instead, should win the prize.
“President Trump should win the Nobel Peace Prize,” Moon reportedly told a meeting of senior secretaries, according to a Korean official who briefed the media. “What we need is only peace.”
The comments came just days after Moon met with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un for a summit at the Peace House in Panmunjom. Trump continued to play an active role on Monday, floating the possibility of holding his expected summit with Kim at the same location. “Numerous countries are being considered for the MEETING, but would Peace House/Freedom House, on the Border of North & South Korea, be a more Representative, Important and Lasting site than a third party country? Just asking!” he tweeted. The Korean leaders announced Friday they would work to achieve a “nuclear-free Korean Peninsula,” and also expressed hope to officially end the 1950-53 Korean War by the end of the year, though it is not clear at this point.
Trump called the summit between the two leaders a “historic meeting,” and touted the outcome, noting that the people of the United States “should be very proud of what is now taking place in Korea.” The leaders also agreed that beginning May 1, all loudspeaker propaganda broadcasts that have been blaring from each side of the heavily-armed borer will be suspended. They also agreed to dismantle broadcasting equipment and stop flying propaganda leaflets across their border. Kim also promised Moon that he “won’t interrupt” his “early morning sleep anymore,” referring to missile tests, South Korea said.
During the summit, the Korean leaders announced that they will jointly push for talks with the United States, and potentially China to officially end the war. The Koreas also agreed to stop all hostile acts over “land, sea and air” that cause military clashes and tensions. The date for Trump’s expected summit with Kim is not yet scheduled. Last week, Trump slammed media reports that he was making concessions to secure the meeting with the North Korean dictator as inaccurate. Newly confirmed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to North Korea earlier this month to lay the foundation for the meeting between Trump and Kim.
Last week, Trump criticized the Obama administration for allowing the situation in North Korea to escalate, while calling former Secretary of State John Kerry the “worst negotiator” he’d “ever seen.” Earlier this year, Moon applauded Trump, noting he “deserves big credit for bringing about the inter-Korean talks,” and said “it could be a resulting work of the U.S.-led sanctions and pressure.”
Trump has put what his administration describes as “the heaviest sanctions ever imposed on a country before” on North Korea, crippling the DPRK’s economy. Under the sanctions, the Treasury Department aimed to cut off sources of revenue and fuel used to boost the country’s nuclear program and military. “Treasury is aggressively targeting all illicit avenues used by North Korea to evade sanctions, including taking decisive action to block the vessels, shipping companies, and entities across the globe that work on North Korea’s behalf,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement in late February. U.S. officials, at that time, said the sanctions were also aimed at hindering the regime’s ability to transport coal and fuel in international waters, in an effort to further isolate the rogue regime and advance the U.S. pressure campaign.