President Moon optimistic about second U.S.-N. Korea summit

Lim Chang-won Reporter Posted : 2019-01-10 16:20 Updated : 2019-01-10 16:20
글씨작게 글씨크게

[Courtesy of the presidential Blue House]

SEOUL -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in was optimistic over a fresh round of talks between North Korean and U.S. leaders, saying it would provide a good chance to overcome deep-rooted distrust between them and reach agreement on more specific measures for denuclearization.

Moon said the second summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and President Donald Trump would be held certainly in the near future, describing Kim's latest trip to China as an auspicious sign for the resumption of stalled high-level negotiations between the two sides.

"I think it's an act of preparing for (the summit)," the South Korean leader said, referring to talks Tuesday between Kim and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Moon praised China for playing a "very positive" role for the success of fresh talks between Kim and Trump.

In a related development, Xi has agreed to make his first visit to North Korea since the young leader took power following the death of his father and late leader Kim Jong-il in late 2011. According to Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Thursday, Xi "gladly accepted" Kim's invitation at their meeting in Beijing.

Kim promised to stick to his denuclearization commitments and principles of faithfully carrying out agreements signed at his June summit with Trump, KCNA said, adding Xi supporting North Korea's "reasonable" demands in denuclearization talks.

"North Korea knows that concrete steps for denuclearization are necessary for the lifting of international sanctions, and the U.S. recognizes the need for corresponding measures," Moon said, adding that because of deep-rooted distrust, each side is asking the other side to act first. "I hope such a gap will be resolved through the second summit."

After all, the resolution of sanctions against North Korea would follow the speed of denuclearization, Moon said. "For a quick settlement, I think it is necessary for North Korea to take more drastic measures for denuclearization, accompanied by corresponding measures to encourage (North Korea) and expedite denuclearization."

"Perhaps that would be the most important agenda of the second North Korea-U.S. summit," the president said, expressing his anticipation for "specific measures" between Kim and Trump.

In his New Year message, Kim said he was ready to meet with Trump for their second summit at any time, but he warned that he would find a new way if Washington misjudges his patience and clings to sanctions without reciprocating a series of proactive steps for denuclearization.

Kim also stressed that Pyongyang and Washington should come up with "fair" proposals, based on the principle of mutually recognizing and respecting each. He also called for active multilateral negotiations to replace the truce agreement, which ended the 1950-53 Korean War, with a permanent peace treaty.

At an inter-Korean summit in September, Kim offered to permanently dismantle facilities for ballistic missile launches and engine testing in the Sohae space center, which has played an important role in the development of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). U.S. officials have urged North Korea to take further steps.

Kim has stated that there is no difference between his concept of "complete denuclearization" and denuclearization demanded by the international community, Moon said, suggesting that at the last stage of denuclearization, a peace treaty should be signed between countries involved in the 1950-53 war.

A U.S. security guarantee would prompt North Korea to speed up denuclearization and lead to a permanent peace regime on the Korean peninsula, Moon said, shrugging off concerns that a peace treaty could affect the presence of American troops in South Korea.

Kim clarified his stance at inter-Korean summits that denuclearization would not be related to the status of U.S. troops in South Korea, Moon said, adding Kim's trip to Seoul may follow his summit with Trump. "I believe Chairman Kim's reciprocal visit may be pushed for more smoothly after the second North Korea-U.S. summit."