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Will he or won't he?
Korea Summit Press Pool/via Reuters
Will he or won’t he?
PYONGYANG ON THE HAN?

South Koreans are being asked to write welcome notes to Kim Jong Un ahead of a possible visit

Justin Rohrlich
By Justin Rohrlich

Geopolitics reporter

An aide to South Korean president Moon Jae-in suggested Tuesday (Nov. 27) that Kim Jong Un may not be visiting Seoul this year, as the North Korean leader was reportedly planning to do.

Citing “lots of considerations and conditions that must be met,” the aide said making the arrangements was “becoming difficult.”

Perhaps so as not to be caught flat-footed, Seoulites have been asked to prepare a warm welcome in the event Kim does show up. Messages collected by the Seoul Citizen Welcome Committee are promised to be delivered to what’s being billed as the Inter-Korean Summit on the Korean Peninsula.

The text on the card says:

  • “Please write a welcome message on the front of the postcard for Kim Jong Un’s visit for the Inter-Korean Summit on the Korean Peninsula.”
  • “We will collect your heartfelt messages and deliver them to the summit. You can also take a photo of the postcard and send it to ‘서울시민환영단’ (Seoul Citizen Welcome Committee) on kakaotalk.”
  • “Related updates will be posted on the Seoul Citizen Welcome Committee’s homepage and also relayed to the applicants.”

The message is quite different from the North Korean leaflets occasionally found around Seoul, which are generally thought to be floated in from the north by balloon. According to local journalists from NKNews.org, North Korean missives previously dropped into Seoul often depicted former South Korean leader Park Geun-hye as “worthy of death.” Leaflets discovered by NK News in 2016 took then-US president Barack Obama to task for his support of a South Korean anti-missile system, and in 2017 targeted Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe for his stance on the “comfort women” controversy. North Korean leaflets have also issued calls for the death of US president Donald Trump.

However, North Korea’s tone suddenly shifted last January when the country’s propaganda leaflets suddenly began encouraging inter-Korean economic cooperation and efforts to open the “great door of unification.”

Political considerations are apparently a factor in whether or not Kim will indeed visit Seoul between now and January.

As Moon’s aide explained, “Our key considerations are whether it would be good for the North’s leader Kim to visit here before or after his upcoming summit with US president Donald Trump, and what scenario would be most beneficial in bringing lasting peace and prosperity to the Korean Peninsula.”

Translation by Tori Smith and Hoon Kim

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