Wednesday 19 December 2018

Seoul: North Korea committed to US summit and denuclearisation

Donald Trump said talks with North Korea on the summit were going “very well”.

South Korea expressed relief over revived talks for a Trump-Kim meetin (South Korea Presidential Blue House via AP)
South Korea expressed relief over revived talks for a Trump-Kim meetin (South Korea Presidential Blue House via AP)

By Hyung-Jin Kim and Foster Klug, Associated Press

South Korean president Moon Jae-in has said that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un committed in the rivals’ surprise meeting to sitting down with President Donald Trump and to a “complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula”.

The Korean leaders’ second summit in a month saw bear hugs and broad smiles, but their quickly arranged meeting appears to highlight a sense of urgency on both sides of the world’s most heavily armed border.

At the White House, Mr Trump said negotiations over a potential June 12 summit with Mr Kim that he had earlier cancelled are “going along very well”.

Mr Trump told reporters that they are still considering Singapore as the venue for their talks. He said there is a “lot of good will” and denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula would be “a great thing”.

The Koreas’ talks, which Mr Moon said Mr Kim requested, capped a whirlwind 24 hours of diplomatic back-and-forth.

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in shake hands before their meeting at the northern side of Panmunjom in North Korea (South Korea Presidential Blue House via AP)

It allowed Mr Moon to push for a US-North Korean summit that he sees as the best way to ease animosity that had some fearing a war last year.

Mr Kim may see the sit-down with Mr Trump as necessary to easing pressure from crushing sanctions and to winning security assurances in a region surrounded by enemies.

Mr Moon told reporters on Sunday that Mr Kim “again made clear his commitment to a complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula,” and told the South Korean leader that he is willing to cooperate to end confrontation and work toward peace for the sake of the successful North Korea-US summit.

Mr Moon said he told Mr Kim that Mr Trump has a “firm resolve” to end hostile relations with North Korea and initiate economic cooperation if Kim implements “complete denuclearisation”.

“What Kim is unclear about is that he has concerns about whether his country can surely trust the United States over its promise to end hostile relations (with North Korea) and provide a security guarantee if they do denuclearisation,” Mr Moon said.

“During the South Korea-US summit, President Trump said the US is willing to clearly put an end to hostile relations (between the US and North Korea) and help (the North) achieve economic prosperity if North Korea conducts denuclearisation.”

Mr Moon said North Korea and the United States will soon start working-level talks to prepare for the Kim-Trump summit. He said he expects the talks to go smoothly because Pyongyang and Washington both know what they want from each other.

Mr Kim, in a telling line from a dispatch issued by the North’s state-run news service earlier on Sunday, “expressed his fixed will on the historic (North Korea)-US summit talks.”

During Saturday’s inter-Korean summit, the Korean leaders agreed to “positively cooperate with each other as ever to improve (North Korea)-US relations and establish (a) mechanism for permanent and durable peace.”

They agreed to have their top officials meet again on June 1.

Mr Moon said military generals and Red Cross officials from the Koreas will also meet separately to discuss how to ease military tensions and resume reunions of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.

Press Association

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