Kim says he expects progress in U.S.-N. Korea talks

September 18, 2018

SEOUL/PYONGYANG, Sept. 18 (Joint Press Corps-Yonhap) — North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Tuesday expressed his expectation for progress in denuclearization talks with the United States, which he said have stabilized the region.

Kim’s remarks came in a bilateral summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, whom he thanked for enabling his historic summit with U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore on June 12.

“President Moon helped find the start of the historic North Korea-U.S. talks,” Kim told Moon at the start of their summit in Pyongyang.

“Thanks to this (U.S.-North Korea meeting), regional conditions stabilized and a more advanced outcome is expected,” the North Korean leader added. “I once again express my gratitude for efforts made by President Moon.”

Kim’s historic summit with the U.S. president followed his two bilateral summits with Moon in the border village of Panmunjom on April 27 and May 26.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in (L) and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un shake hands after meeting at the headquarters of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea in Pyongyang for the first round of talks on Sept. 18, 2018. Moon arrived in the North Korean capital earlier in the day for a three-day visit that marked his third bilateral summit with the North Korean leader. (Joint Press Corps-Yonhap)

South Korean President Moon Jae-in (L) and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un shake hands after meeting at the headquarters of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea in Pyongyang for the first round of talks on Sept. 18, 2018. Moon arrived in the North Korean capital earlier in the day for a three-day visit that marked his third bilateral summit with the North Korean leader. (Joint Press Corps-Yonhap)

Moon praised Kim for what he called a bold decision.

“This process has been based on Chairman Kim’s decision, and I express my respect for Chairman Kim’s determination to open a new era,” the South Korean president said.

Moon arrived in Pyongyang earlier in the day, becoming the third South Korean leader ever to visit the North Korean capital.

He called for stepped up efforts to make more progress.

“On the one hand, I feel the great weight we must bear, along with a heavy responsibility,” Moon told Kim.

The leaders’ meeting began at 3:45 a.m. at the headquarters of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea.

It marked the first time for the North Korean leader to host any foreign leader at the office of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party, Yoon Young-chan, senior secretary to President Moon for public relations, told a press briefing in Seoul.

“I wish this will be a summit that produces abundant results as a gift to the 80 million people of this nation for Chuseok,” the South Korean president said, referring to the upcoming traditional holiday that falls on Monday.

Kim said he now felt “very close” to the South Korean president, also thanking Moon for what he called improved relations between his country and South Korea, as well as the United States.

Still, the inter-Korean summit came amid an apparent deadlock in the denuclearization talks between the U.S. and the North.

The U.S.-North Korea talks have stalled after U.S. President Donald Trump called off a scheduled trip to North Korea by his top diplomat, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, citing what he called a lack of progress in the North’s denuclearization process.

The North Korean leader has argued that his country has taken many significant and irreversible measures that have left the country unable to stage any more nuclear or missile tests.

The South Korean president earlier stressed the need to find an intersecting point between the two.

“(My) North Korea trip would have great meaning if it could lead to the resumption of North Korea-U.S. dialogue,” Moon was quoted as saying before heading to Pyongyang earlier in the day.

While meeting with Kim in Pyongyang, the South Korean president stressed the need to show the world that the North is in fact willing to denuclearize and establish peace.

“The entire world is also watching, so (I) hope we will show the fruits of peace and prosperity to all people in the world,” Moon said.

The meeting ended at 5:45 p.m., according to Moon’s presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.

Moon and Kim will meet again early Wednesday for a second round of talks.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in (R) and North Korea's top leader, Kim Jong-un, review an honor guard at a welcoming ceremony for Moon at Pyongyang International Airport on Sept. 18, 2018. Moon arrived on the day for a three-day visit to North Korea for his third summit with Kim. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)

South Korean President Moon Jae-in (R) and North Korea’s top leader, Kim Jong-un, review an honor guard at a welcoming ceremony for Moon at Pyongyang International Airport on Sept. 18, 2018. Moon arrived on the day for a three-day visit to North Korea for his third summit with Kim. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)

 

Also on the agenda are further reduction of military tensions between the divided Koreas and improvement in their bilateral relations, which Moon says will help promote and even accelerate the North’s denuclearization process.

More than a dozen top South Korean business leaders are accompanying the president.

According to officials from Seoul’s presidential office Cheong Wa Dae, they will likely offer a glimpse of the economic cooperation and assistance for a denuclearized North Korea that Seoul could provide.

No new economic cooperation projects will be offered to the North during Moon’s three-day trip to Pyongyang, Yoon, the South Korean president’s chief press secretary, said earlier.

Moon was set to attend a welcome dinner later Tuesday that could possibly be hosted by the North Korean leader.

Depending on the outcome of their talks, the two leaders may hold a joint press conference in Pyongyang to announce the outcome of their summit, Cheong Wa Dae officials have said.

Moon will return home Thursday.

 

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