The Latest: UN chief encouraged by Koreas’ agreement to meet
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The Latest on talks between North and South Korea (all times local):
The U.N. says Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is “encouraged” by the advances in the latest inter-Korean talks and “stresses the need to protect the momentum and seize the opportunities available to find a peaceful path forward.”
U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said “the latest developments are further steps forward in laying the foundation for the resumption of sincere dialogue, leading to sustainable peace and denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.”
He said Guterres was particularly encouraged by “the agreement to hold a summit meeting soon, to further reduce military tensions, and to discuss denuclearization in future talks with all relevant parties.”
Dujarric said the secretary-general reiterated the U.N.’s commitment “to further assist in this process with the governments concerned.”
U.S. President Donald Trump is citing “possible progress” in talks with North Korea, but says it may also be “false hope.”
Nonetheless, Trump adds that a “serious effort” is being made by all sides.
Trump commented Tuesday on Twitter after the South Korean government announced that North Korea has agreed to halt tests of nuclear weapons and missiles if it holds talks with the United States on denuclearization and establishment of diplomatic relations. South Korea and North Korea have also agreed to hold summit talks in late April.
Trump tweeted: “Possible progress being made in talks with North Korea. For the first time in many years, a serious effort is being made by all parties concerned. The World is watching and waiting! May be false hope, but the U.S. is ready to go hard in either direction!”
U.S. President Donald Trump says “we will see what happens” in talks between North and South Korea.
Trump commented Tuesday as he retweeted a link from The Drudge Report about North Korean leader Kim Jong Un hosting South Korean envoys in a rare visit to the North. The South Korean government announced Tuesday that it has agreed with North Korea to hold summit talks in late April.
South Korea also said North Korea has agreed to halt tests of nuclear weapons and missiles if it holds talks with the United States on denuclearization.
The White House has not formally commented on Tuesday’s announcements.
Last week, Trump responded to an overture from North Korea for talks with the U.S. by saying that will happen only “under the right conditions.”
South Korea says North Korea has agreed to impose a moratorium on tests of nuclear weapons and missiles if it holds talks with the United States.
South Korea’s presidential national security director said Tuesday that North Korea said it’s ready to have “heart-to-heart” talks with the United States on issues regarding the North’s potential denuclearization and the normalization of relations between Pyongyang and Washington.
He said the North also made it clear that it wouldn’t need to keep its nuclear weapons if military threats against the country are resolved and it receives a security guarantee.
He said the North also promised not to use conventional or nuclear weapons against South Korea.
The comments were made after South Korean officials returned from a visit to the North, where they met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
South Korea says it has agreed with North Korea to hold summit talks in late April.
South Korea’s presidential office also said Tuesday that the countries have agreed to set up a telephone hotline between their leaders.
South Korea’s presidential national security director, Chung Eui-yong, said North Korea has also made it clear that it wouldn’t need to keep its nuclear weapons if military threats against the country are resolved and it receives a credible security guarantee.
The comments were made hours after a South Korean delegation led by Chung returned from a visit to the North, where they met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
South Korean presidential envoys have returned home a day after they met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in a rare visit to the North.
The South Korean delegation led by national security director Chung Eui-yong was expected to head straight to Seoul’s presidential palace to report to President Moon Jae-in.
Moon’s office is expected to hold a media briefing on the outcome of the visit later Tuesday.
North Korean state media said the North and South Korean officials discussed a possible summit between Kim and Moon during a meeting and dinner hosted by Kim on Monday in Pyongyang.
The rival Koreas have been taking steps to repair ties strained by North Korean nuclear weapons and missile tests after the North reached out to the South over the recently concluded Pyeongchang Olympics.