PV International Desk : South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Sunday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un committed in the rivals’ surprise meeting to sitting down with President Donald Trump and to a “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” The Korean leaders’ second summit in a month Saturday saw bear hugs and broad smiles, but their quickly arranged meeting appears to highlight a sense of urgency on both sides of the world’s most heavily armed border.
At the White House, Trump said negotiations over a potential June 12 summit with Kim that he had earlier canceled are “going along very well.” Trump told reporters that they are still considering Singapore as the venue for their talks. He said there is a “lot of good will” and denuclearization of the Korean peninsula would be “a great thing.”
The Koreas’ talks, which Moon said Kim requested, capped a whirlwind 24 hours of diplomatic back-and-forth. It allowed Moon to push for a U.S.-North Korean summit that he sees as the best way to ease animosity that had some fearing a war last year. Kim may see the sit-down with Trump as necessary to easing pressure from crushing sanctions and to winning security assurances in a region surrounded by enemies.
Moon told reporters Sunday that Kim “again made clear his commitment to a complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” and told the South Korean leader that he’s willing to cooperate to end confrontation for the sake of the successful North Korea-U.S. summit. Moon said he told Kim that Trump has a “firm resolve” to end hostile relations with North Korea and initiate economic cooperation if Kim implements “complete denuclearization.”
“What Kim is unclear about is that he has concerns about whether his country can surely trust the United States over its promise to end hostile relations (with North Korea) and provide a security guarantee if they do denuclearization,” Moon said. “During the South Korea-U.S. summit, President Trump said the U.S. is willing to clearly put an end to hostile relations (between the U.S. and North Korea) and help (the North) achieve economic prosperity if North Korea conducts denuclearization.”
Kim, in a telling line from a dispatch issued by the North’s state-run news service on Sunday, “expressed his fixed will on the historic (North Korea)-U.S. summit talks.” The two Korean leaders agreed to “positively cooperate with each other as ever to improve (North Korea)-U.S. relations and establish (a) mechanism for permanent and durable peace.”
They agreed to have their top officials meet again June 1 and to set up separate talks between their top generals.
The meeting came hours after South Korea expressed relief over revived talks for a summit between Trump and Kim.
Despite repeated references to “denuclearization” by the North, it remains unclear whether Kim will ever agree to fully abandon his nuclear arsenal, despite Moon’s insistence that Kim can be persuaded to abandon his nuclear facilities, materials and bombs in a verifiable and irreversible way in exchange for credible security and economic guarantees.
Moon, who brokered the summit between Washington and Pyongyang, likely used Saturday’s meeting to confirm Kim’s willingness to enter nuclear negotiations with Trump and clarify what steps Kim has in mind in the process of denuclearization, said Hong Min, a senior analyst at Seoul’s Korea Institute for National Unification.