Seoul―South Korean President Moon Jae-in is willing to go anywhere to meet Kim Jong Un for a fourth summit, he said Monday, hailing the North Korean leader’s willingness to salvage high-stakes talks with the United States.
Kim said Friday he was open to a third meeting with US President Donald Trump if Washington offered “mutually acceptable terms” after their second summit in Hanoi broke down in part over Pyongyang’s demands for immediate sanctions relief.
Moon, who brokered the talks between Washington and Pyongyang, welcomed Kim’s “firm commitment for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula” and called for what would be his fourth meeting with the North’s leader.
“As soon as North Korea is ready, I hope the two Koreas will be able to sit down together, regardless of venue and form,” Moon told a meeting with his top aides.
“I will spare no effort to ensure that the upcoming inter-Korean summit becomes a stepping stone for an even bigger opportunity and a more significant outcome.”
The remarks come after Moon’s brief summit with Trump at the White House last week as he tries to reignite the stalled diplomacy.
Moon, who has long backed engagement with the nuclear-armed North, has been pushing for the resumption of inter-Korean economic projects, but doing so would fall foul of international sanctions imposed on Pyongyang.
Trump and Kim held their first landmark summit in Singapore last June, where they signed a vaguely-worded agreement on the “denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”
The failure to reach agreement at their second summit in Hanoi has raised questions over the future of the accord.
Washington has blamed the deadlock on the North’s demands for sanctions relief in return for limited nuclear disarmament, but Pyongyang said it had wanted only some of the measures eased.
In a speech to Pyongyang’s rubber-stamp parliament on Friday, Kim said the Hanoi meeting raised questions about Washington’s intention but added he will wait until the end of the year for the US to make “a courageous decision”.
Trump has welcomed further talks with Kim, insisting their personal relationship was “excellent”.