Moon reiterates NK leader has 'firm will' for denuclearization

Casey Dawson
May 28, 2018

A senior South Korean official said later the two Koreas were discussing a possible non-aggression pledge and the start of peace treaty talks as a way of addressing Pyongyang's security concerns ahead of U.S.

However, separately on Saturday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders revealed that a team of United States officials was being dispatched to Singapore for summit preparations.

On Thursday, the White House released Trump's letter informing Kim that he was canceling their meeting in Singapore scheduled for June 12.

South Korea's President Moon Jae-in speaks during a news conference at the presidential Blue House in Seoul on Sunday.

"Chairman Kim and I have agreed that the June 12 summit should be held successfully, and that our quest for the Korean peninsula's denuclearization and a perpetual peace regime should not be halted", Moon said.

"While Washington and Pyongyang have expressed their hopes for a summit through published statements, Moon has to step up as the mediator because the surest way to set the meeting in stone would be an official confirmation of intent between heads of states", Hong said.

Seoul already was looking at ways to relax economic pressure on Pyongyang, although a senior South Korean official said, "We can't and won't do anything that may loosen sanctions on our own, breaking away from the worldwide community". He expressed frustration immediately afterward, calling the move "very regrettable". "We get that done and we can be successful in the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, that would be a great thing for North Korea, it would be a great thing for South Korea, it would be great for Japan, it would be great for the world, it would be great for the United States, it would be great for China".

"That hasn't changed. And it's moving along pretty well, so we'll see what happens", said Mr. Trump.

Kim reaffirmed his commitment to "complete" denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and to a planned meeting with Trump, Moon told a news conference in Seoul.

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Iran is one of the world's largest oil producers, and the export of oil and gas is worth billions of dollars each year. The move came as the three countries scramble to salvage the accord in the wake of the US's withdrawal.

North Korea, which cancelled the talks earlier this month in a sign of re-emerging tensions, said the two leaders agreed to "meet frequently in the future".

The White House also sent an advance team Saturday to Singapore to prepare for the talks.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

"With South Korea and China already talking to the North, it's hard for Trump to reignite his campaign at this point or after the summit fails", said Namkoong Young, who has advised South Korea's Unification Ministry and the Foreign Ministry on policy for nearly 10 years.

Moon, who returned to Seoul on Thursday morning after meeting Trump in Washington in an effort to keep the U.S. Korea summit an opportunity to make substantial progress on North Korea's nuclear, missile and abduction issues.

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President Moon maintained that Kim is committed to "complete" denuclearization, but acknowledged that Pyongyang and Washington may have differing expectations of what denuclearization means.

The Trump administration has demanded that North Korea completely and irreversibly shut its nuclear weapons program.

Moon suggested that "it is necessary for the two sides to engage in direct talks to eliminate misunderstandings and have sufficient preliminary, working level negotiations concerning the agenda". Kim and Trump's initial decision to meet followed months of war threats and insults between the leaders over the program.

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