Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

Kim Wants New Summit With Trump, Moon Says After Visiting North Korea

North Korea Kevin Lim THE STRAITS TIMES Handout Getty Images Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un at their summit in Singapore this summer
Faye Gross | 21 September, 2018, 06:43

North Korea's Kim Jong-un wants to hold a second summit soon with Donald Trump to speed up the process of denuclearizing hishermit country, according to South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

Kim also wants a second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump as soon as possible.

Mr Moon told reporters in Seoul that he will carry a private message from Mr Kim for Mr Trump on the nuclear standoff when he meets with the U.S. president in NY next week on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session.

Such a declaration would be the first step toward a formal peace treaty, but the USA is anxious it could result in Kim pushing for the removal of U.S. troops from South Korea.

While critics said the Pyongyang Declaration lacked substantial demands for the North, Moon said he and Kim had extensively discussed measures the North would take toward denuclearization that were not included in the statement. "The U.S. troops stationed in South Korea will be adjusted in proportion to the shared sense of threat and capability needed to ensure Seoul's protection against those threats", he said.

South Korean officials said Thursday that Moon traveled by plane to an airport near Mount Paektu where Kim arrived first to greet him. Shortly before then, South Korean pool reporters and members of Moon's so-called "special delegation", which includes political, business and cultural leaders, took an Air Koryo flight from Pyongyang to Samjiyon.

The five-point declaration also states that the two sides agreed to expand the cessation of military hostility in regions of confrontation - such as the Korean Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) - "into the substantial removal of the danger of war across the entire Korean Peninsula and a fundamental resolution of the hostile relations".

The Korean summit comes as the USA effort to get North Korea to shut down its nuclear weapons program has met with mixed results. The North has long seen the USA military's large footprint in South Korea as a direct threat.

Kim pledged to work toward the "complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula" during two meetings with Moon and his encounter with Trump, but follow-up negotiations on how to implement the vague commitments have since faltered. Experts say the destruction of the missile engine test site and launch pad wouldn't represent a material step in the denuclearization of North Korea, which declared its nuclear force complete past year and has designed its most powerful missiles to be fired from vehicles.

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Nevertheless, Kim has already made the Trump administration back off from military exercises and from the "Libyan model" of rapid denuclearisation, observers say.

Kim's has previously visited the mountain around major developments in North Korea, such as visiting in late 2013 before he executed top officials including his uncle Jang Song Thaek, and after North Korea's fifth nuclear test in 2016, North Korea watchers say.

A former human rights lawyer, he said in a 2017 book published months before his election as president that he wanted to "finish his life" in his mother's North Korean hometown doing pro-bono service.

Moon, a keen mountain climber, has repeatedly said he would love to visit Mt. Baekdu through North Korea and told Kim so during his April summit with Kim.

A stone marker commemorating South Korean President Moon Jae-in's visit to Pyongyang has the wrong dates carved on it.

"We're making tremendous progress with respect to North Korea".

Moon left early in the morning from Paekhwawon guest house and was escorted by Kim Yong Nam, head of North Korea's parliament.

As Channel News Asia reports, "Mount Paektu is the mythical origin of the Korean people, featured in South Korea's national anthem and various North Korean propaganda".

Washington meanwhile is still demanding concrete action towards denuclearisation, such as a full disclosure of North Korea's nuclear and missile facilities, before agreeing to key goals of Pyongyang.

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