South Korea: Kim Jong-Un Wants to Denuclearize During Trump’s First Term

Sep 07, 2018, 00:37
South Korea: Kim Jong-Un Wants to Denuclearize During Trump’s First Term

South Korean officials said they forwarded a message from Trump to Kim during their meeting and would send a separate message from Kim to Trump later Thursday.

Reversing the defiant statements of his officials during that period, Kim said he was willing to accept "stronger measures" to dismantle his nuclear program and pressed for a formal conclusion to the Korean War in return, a peace treaty regarded by strategic analysts as a significant boon to North Korea at this point.

South Korean National Security Director Chung Eui-yong, right, speaks during a news conference at the presidential Blue House in Seoul on Thursday.

"Chairman Kim Jong Un has made it clear several times that he is firmly committed to denuclearization, and he expressed frustration over skepticism in the worldwide community over his commitment", Chung said.

"Kim Jong Un of North Korea proclaims 'unwavering faith in President Trump.' Thank you to Chairman Kim".

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But last month a trip by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was abruptly called off at the last minute, with Mr Trump citing a lack of progress as the reason.

On the matter of declaring end to the Korean War, Chung said Kim shared Seoul's view that it was a political issue and the first step in building trust among the concerned nations.

Moon's spokesman Kim Eui-keum said Trump had asked Moon during a phone conversation before the trip to serve as "chief negotiator" between the US and North Korea.

The meeting later this month, Chung said, will "discuss practical ways to establish lasting peace and ensure joint prosperity on the Korean Peninsula, especially denuclearize the Korean Peninsula", Yonhap News Agency reported.

President Moon, who had mediated the first US-North Korea summit held in Singapore in June, is expected to play a bigger role trying to push for a breakthrough in the impasse, so as to advance inter-Korea ties with blessings from its security ally US.

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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.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has vowed to keep working towards denuclearisation.

Moon and Kim agreed to formally end the war before the year's end when they first met in Panmunjom, but many here and in the United States have voiced their opposition to the move, claiming a formal end of the war may greatly weaken the need for the maintain tens of thousands of American service members on the Korean Peninsula.

"He said he's pre-emptively taken steps necessary for denuclearisation and wants to see these goodwill measures being met with goodwill measures", Chung said. Last month, U.S. military commanders in Seoul also reversed another of Moon's initiatives, namely sending a train across the DMZ and running it on a North Korean railway to test the rails' condition. Post-summit nuclear negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang were rocky and quickly settled into a stalemate.

USA officials believed the Sony hack was retribution for The Interview, a comedy film that starred Seth Rogen and James Franco and centred on a plot to assassinate Kim.

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The officials arrived in Pyongyang at 9 a.m. and were driven to the Koryo Hotel, where they were greeted by Kim's right-hand man Kim Yong-chol and Ri Son-gwon, the chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland.