World Bulletin / News Desk
South Korean President Moon Jae-in recognized Thursday there are "many" obstacles to pass before North Korea gives up nuclear weapons.
Speaking at a national prayer group meeting attended by around 5,000 people, Moon praised the role of the U.S. in helping to bring about this week's inter-Korean agreement that saw the North promise to suspend nuclear provocations while dialogue is ongoing.
Seoul's special envoys who reached the deal left for the U.S. Thursday to share the outcomes of their trip to Pyongyang.
Despite growing optimism due to the current thaw in tensions, Moon conceded there is much more to be done.
"We have overcome one obstacle, while there exists many before we can reach lasting peace and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula," Moon was quoted as saying by the Yonhap News Agency.
The South Korean leader appeared to dismiss fears of Pyongyang driving a wedge between Seoul and Washington, as he insisted the allies will work closely together.
North Korea has repeatedly justified its rogue development of nukes by pointing to what it sees as regional American aggression -- including the presence of nearly 30,000 U.S. military personnel in the South.
Economic pressure has already been building on the Seoul-Washington alliance, however, with U.S. President Donald Trump claiming America gets a raw deal in areas such as trade and military cost-sharing.
Regarding the latter, South Korea's Foreign Ministry announced Thursday that negotiations kicked off this week on renewing their existing arrangement, which expires at the end of the year.
The South's contribution to the U.S. Forces Korea's costs has been rising since they started sharing the burden in 1991.