South Korean president hopes for 4th summit with North Korea

Nellie Chapman
April 17, 2019

South Korean President Moon Jae-in speaks during a meeting with his aids at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, April 15, 2019.

It comes nearly two months after the failed summit in Hanoi between the North's leader Kim Jong-un and the United States' President Donald Trump.

"Now, it's time to actively prepare and push for a South-North summit", Moon told a meeting of his senior secretaries, referring to a potential fourth summit between the two Koreas.

Putin congratulated Kim on Friday on his re-election as head of the North Korean State Affairs Commission and confirmed his readiness to cooperate on pressing regional matters.

Moon has said it is Seoul's "outmost priority" to prevent nuclear negotiations between the USA and North Korea from derailing, and there is speculation that he will soon announce a plan to send a special envoy to Pyongyang, North Korea's capital, in an effort to rescue the talks. After the Hanoi summit, Moon vowed to help resume dialogue between the two countries. "I highly appreciate and welcome Kim's unwavering will".

Korean Peninsula denuclearization is a matter closely related to China's border security, he said. "President Trump also expressed his sympathy for the need of an inter-Korean summit and expressed expectations", Moon said.

Choe also "called for making a dynamic struggle for the prosperity of Juche Korea and accomplishment of the cause of socialism, single-heartedly rallied around Kim Jong Un", KCNA said.

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He also met with President Donald Trump last week as the sides struggle to get diplomacy back on track after the second nuclear summit between Trump and Kim collapsed without agreement in late February.

The comments came after Kim, the North Korean leader, issued a strong warning that the deadlock risked reviving tensions and gave the end-of-year deadline to offer a mutually acceptable approach to the negotiations. "My government is clearly and firmly committed to steadily implementing the inter-Korean joint declaration, even in the face of any obstacles", he added.

Moon had his first summit with Kim in Panmunjom last April and another one in May.

North Korean charge d'affaires in Moscow, Jin Jong Hyuk, said Thursday that Pyongyang expects a number of mutual visits by high-level Russian and North Korean delegations in the future. The promise was not kept.

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 USA to make "a courageous decision". The leaders of the two Koreas held summit talks three times past year.

After the meeting with Moon, Trump said in Washington that the USA could make "smaller deals" with the DPRK "step by step". But North Korea for decades has been pushing a concept of denuclearization that bears no resemblance to the American definition, with Pyongyang vowing to pursue nuclear development until the United States removes its troops and the nuclear umbrella defending South Korea and Japan.

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