The Latest: Moon says he has high expectations for summit
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The Latest on an upcoming inter-Korean summit (all times local):
South Korean President Moon Jae-in says he has high expectations for his third summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Sept. 18-20.
Moon’s comments on Thursday came after his presidential delegation met Kim in Pyongyang and returned home with a fixed date for the summit and comments by Kim reaffirming his desire for a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.
Moon says, “The outcome of the special delegation’s visit was really good; it accomplished much more than what was expected.”
He says “it gave us high expectations for the South-North summit as well as the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and also expectations that the talks between North Korea and the United States to achieve that goal could be facilitated.”
Moon met Kim twice this year at a border town and also lobbied hard for the summit between Kim and President Donald Trump, which took place in June in Singapore.
North Korea has reiterated its calls for the United States to agree to a declaration to formally end the Korean War, which it says President Donald Trump promised during his June summit with Kim Jong Un.
The column in the Rodong Sinmun newspaper on Thursday also said the Trump administration must discard its “stubborn” stance that the North must denuclearize first before the United States agrees to a peace treaty.
The article says North Korea has shown “goodwill and generosity” through actions such as returning U.S. war remains and dismantling a nuclear testing ground but that the United States has been failing to respond with corresponding measures to improve relations.
The article came a day after a South Korean presidential delegation visited Pyongyang and set up an inter-Korean summit on Sept. 18-20.
South Korea says it has forwarded a message from President Donald Trump to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and he gave Seoul officials a message to deliver to Trump.
South Korean presidential spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom says South Korea has Kim’s message and will forward it to the United States. The content was not disclosed of either of the messages exchanged by South Korean officials who visited Pyongyang and met with Kim this week.
The spokesman says chief South Korean envoy Chung Eui-yong is to speak to U.S. national security adviser John Bolton on Thursday evening to inform the results of his meeting with Kim.
He says Trump asked South Korean President Moon Jae-in to work as “chief negotiator” to mediate between Washington and Pyongyang during their earlier phone talks.
A South Korean presidential official says North Korean leader Kim Jong Un told him he still had faith in U.S. President Donald Trump despite ongoing difficulties in the nuclear negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang.
Chung Eui-yong said Thursday that Kim emphasized during a meeting in Pyongyang on Wednesday that he has not once talked negatively about Trump to anyone including his closest advisers.
Chung says Kim said that he wishes for North Korea and the United States to put an end to their seven decades of hostile relations before the end of Trump’s first term.
After their June summit in Singapore, Trump and Kim announced a vague statement about a nuclear-free peninsula without describing when and how it would occur. Post-summit nuclear negotiations were rocky and quickly settled into a stalemate.
A South Korean presidential official says North Korean leader Kim Jong Un told him that a declaration to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War would not weaken the U.S.-South Korea alliance or lead to the withdrawal of U.S. troops in South Korea.
Chung Eui-yong said that Kim agreed to South Korea’s stance that an end-of-war declaration would help build trust between the countries as they move forward in the process for denuclearization and stabilizing peace.
U.S. officials have insisted that a peace declaration cannot come before North Korea takes more concrete action toward abandoning its nukes.
While an end-of-war declaration wouldn’t imply a legally binding peace treaty, experts say it could create momentum that would make it easier for the North to steer the discussions toward a diplomatic recognition and security concessions.
The Korean War stopped on an armistice and left the Korean Peninsula technically at war.
A South Korean presidential official says a trilateral summit between Washington, Seoul and Pyongyang at the U.N. General Assembly in New York later this month is unlikely to happen.
Chung Eui-yong told reporters Thursday that the conditions for such a meeting haven’t been created.
South Korea has been pushing for a trilateral meeting, or a four-nation meeting that also includes Beijing, to declare a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War. The war stopped on an armistice and left the Korean Peninsula technically at war.
Chung says such a declaration would build trust between the United States and North Korea and help progress in negotiations to dismantle the North’s nuclear program. North Korea has also called for an end-of-war declaration, but the U.S. officials have insisted such a declaration cannot come before the North takes more concrete steps toward denuclearization.
South Korea says North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has said that dismantling work at his main rocket launch site meant the “complete suspension” of all future long-range ballistic missile tests.
Senior South Korean official Chung Eui-yong told reporters Thursday that Kim made the comments while reaffirming his commitment to denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula during their meeting in Pyongyang this week.
Since entering talks this year, North Korea has taken several steps such as dismantling parts of its main rocket launch site and closing its nuclear testing site. But U.S. officials say North Korea must take more serious disarmament measures.
Chung cites Kim as saying dismantling at the Tongchang-ri rocket site mean no future long-range missile tests would take place because it’s his only long-range rocket testing site.
He says Kim also told him no more nuclear test would be possible in the Punggye-ri nuclear testing site because it has been completely dismantled.
Seoul says the leaders of the two Koreas will meet Sept. 18-20 in Pyongyang to discuss how to achieve the “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
Senior presidential official Chung Eui-yong told reporters Thursday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un also reaffirmed his “firm resolve” to realize denuclearization when he met him in Pyongyang on Wednesday.
Chung’s trip came amid deadlocked diplomacy over North Korea’s nuclear program. North Korea has taken several steps such as dismantling its nuclear testing site this year, but the U.S. wants it to take more serious disarmament measures.
Chung says Kim’s summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in will focus on what specific steps must be taken to realize the denuclearization.
He says the Koreas will hold talks next week to prepare for the summit.
North Korean media have released a declaration from leader Kim Jong Un that reaffirms his commitment to a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula amid a growing standoff with the United States.
The statement Thursday from the Korean Central News Agency followed a high-level South Korean delegation’s visit to Pyongyang to meet with Kim and to set up a summit later this month between him and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
Kim was paraphrased as saying that it was “his will to completely remove the danger of armed conflict and horror of war from the Korean peninsula and turn it into the cradle of peace without nuclear weapons and free from nuclear threat.”