Seoul keeps focus on North Korea's denuclearization

South Korea says nukes are priority at next month's summit with the North despite U.S. breakdown in dialogue with Pyongyang

Seoul keeps focus on North Korea's denuclearization

World Bulletin / News Desk

South Korean President Moon Jae-in will address denuclearization as "the most important issue" when he meets North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang next month, according to Seoul's presidential office Thursday.

The South has been forced to react to changing circumstances as the U.S. cancelled Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's planned trip to the North this week.

CNN cited sources claiming that American President Donald Trump called off the visit after senior North Korean negotiator Kim Yong-chol sent a letter warning that denuclearization talks are "again at stake and may fall apart".

According to South Korean lawmakers Wednesday, Pompeo explained to Seoul's Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-hwa that his trip was cancelled because it would not have achieved anything.

Washington's top envoy was criticized for returning from Pyongyang last month without agreeing a timeline for the North's denuclearization, given that Chairman Kim had expressed his willingness to cooperate with the U.S. a month earlier.

There was even speculation that Moon might no longer go to the North Korean capital as scheduled for his third inter-Korean summit of the year.

"Because the denuclearization issue is the most important issue in the inter-Korean summit, there is no change to the fact that we will focus our discussions on resolving that issue, regardless of whether Secretary Pompeo visits North Korea or not," Seoul's presidential office spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom was quoted as saying Thursday by local news agency Yonhap.

Kim had been asked whether the South Korean president's agenda would have to focus on reviving dialogue between Pyongyang and Washington.

Despite their close military alliance, Seoul and Washington have also shown differences on how to handle North Korea, which is demanding phased and simultaneous steps from all sides.

The U.S. insists Pyongyang must denuclearize before enjoying benefits such as economic cooperation and formally agreeing a peace treaty.

Seoul is prepared to wait in regards to some of its cooperation ambitions but is already planning bold future inter-Korean economic projects and President Moon vowed with Chairman Kim to seek a formal end to the Korean War within this year when they met in April.

The Koreas' 1950-53 conflict only ended with a ceasefire.

Last Mod: 30 Ağustos 2018, 09:10
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