Victoria’s Korean community hopeful about historic Trump and Kim summit

Victoria's Korean community hopeful about historic Trump and Kim summit

WATCH: Historic U.S./North Korea summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un is being watched closely by Victoria’s Korean community. Tess van Straaten reports.

Chong Su Kim and his family came to Canada in 2009 and they’re optimistic about the historic summit between North Korea and the United States.

“This may be the first step to the end of the war between North and South Korea,” says Kim

“I think it is a big sign of the beginning of communication between North Korea and the world,” adds Kim’s daughter, Chorong Kim, a Victoria filmmaker.

An activist in South Korea, Chong Su Kim provided aid to North Korea during its food crisis. He’s now a PhD candidate at the University of Victoria in political science, studying social movements in East Asia and he says just last year, this meeting wouldn’t be possible.

“There was strong hostility between North and South Korea and there was no hope to establish peace in South Korea, Korean Peninsula but now we are talking about not just de-nuclearization of North Korea but the end of the cold war,” says Kim.

The summit in Singapore between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un is the first time the leader of the free world has ever met with North Korea’s leader and U.S. officials hope it will set the stage for de-nuclearization.

“The complete and verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is the only outcome the United States will accept,” says U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

But for the first face-to-face between the two unpredictable leaders ? who weren’t on friendly terms last year ? it will just be just Trump and Kim, along with their translators.

“Never in my life would I have expected to see peaceful efforts between North and South Korea under Trump’s blessing on Twitter,” says Chorong Kim. “It’s very unexpected.”

But Chong Su Kim believes North Korea is ready.

“The behaviours of North Korea and its leaders were not so trustworthy for the past few decades but this time, they need international support to develop their economy and break the international isolation,” explains Kim.

If the summit succeeds, everyone agrees it will be just the first step in a long, multi-year process.

Tess van StraatenTess van Straaten

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