Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Moon Jae-in seeks nuclear agreement with Kim Jong Un

AFP

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and the North’s leader Kim Jong Un opened a new round of talks at a summit in Pyongyang with the North Korean nuclear arsenal high on the agenda, but Seoul warned they may not reach an agreement.

Moon is on a three-day trip to the North Korean capital for his third summit with Kim this year, hoping to reboot stalled denuclearisation talks between his hosts and the United States.

After the high symbolism of the two leaders’ first meeting in April in the Demilitarized Zone that divides the Korean peninsula, and Kim’s historic summit with US President Donald Trump in Singapore in June, pressure is mounting for substantive progress.

In Singapore, Kim declared his backing for denuclearisation of the peninsula, but no details were agreed and Washington and Pyongyang have since sparred over what that means and how it will be achieved.

Washington is pressing for the North’s “final, fully verified denuclearisation”, while Pyongyang wants a formal declaration that the 1950-53 Korean War is over and has condemned “gangster-like” demands for it to give up its weapons unilaterally.

Asked if any deal on denuclearisation had been struck, Moon’s spokesman Yoon Young-chan said: “It’s difficult to say at this moment that the two leaders have reached any agreement.”

They had “frank and sincere” discussions after Moon arrived in Pyongyang on Tuesday, Yoon told reporters in Seoul, adding: “They still need a lot more talks.”

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