South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Thursday said that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s visit to China indicates that a second summit between Kim and United States President Donald Trump is imminent. However, he urged North Korea to take “bold, practical measures for denuclearisation”, and said the US should take “reciprocal steps”, South China Morning Post reported.
“Corresponding measures must be devised in order to facilitate North Korea’s continued denuclearisation efforts,” Moon said during his New Year address in Seoul. He called on Washington to agree to a “peace regime” and a formal end to the Korean War.
Moon said the agreement between Trump and Kim at their first summit, in Singapore on June 12 last year, was “somewhat vague”. He said there is skepticism that Kim’s “concept of denuclearisation” could be different from what the United States wants.
“But Kim has assured many foreign leaders, including myself, Trump, [Chinese President] Xi Jinping and [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, that his concept is no different in any way from what the international community demands,” Moon added. “I hope the two sides may reach a deal at the second summit that would lay out steps to be taken by the two sides more concretely.”
Kim, in his New Year address, claimed North Korea has taken practical steps towards denuclearisation. He said that if the US responds with practical and trustworthy measures, bilateral relations will “develop wonderfully”. However, he added, if Washington persists in imposing sanctions on Pyongyang, North Korea will have to find a “new way to defend sovereignty”.
Meanwhile, Xi Jinping on Thursday accepted Kim’s offer to visit Pyonyang, The Korea Times reported quoting the Korean Central News Agency. Kim returned to North Korea on Thursday after visiting China and meeting Xi.