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Kim Jong Un agrees to work with US in nuclear talks, South Korea says

On July 10, 2018, in Pyongyang, North Korea, Kim Jong Un, leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, inspects a construction site at Samjiyon County in the Mount Paektu region. (Kcna/Xinhua/Zuma Press/TNS)

Kim Jong Un agreed to cooperate with the U.S. in nuclear talks, South Korean officials said Thursday, after meeting the North Korean leader in Pyongyang.

The two sides also agreed to have South Korean President Moon Jae-in visit the North Korea capital on Sept. 18-20 and open a joint liaison office at the Gaeseong industrial complex north of the border before that trip, according to Moon’s national security adviser, Chung Eui-yong. The two leaders will discuss measures on denuclearization, establishing peace and detailed steps to ease military tensions, Chung said.

Earlier Thursday, North Korean media said that Kim had called for further efforts to “realize the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” during meetings with the envoys. The Korean Central News Agency dispatch provided no details of how that should be achieved and made no mention of stalled discussions with the U.S. or President Donald Trump.

The report said it was Kim’s “will to completely remove the danger of armed conflict and horror of war from the Korean peninsula and turn it into the cradle of peace without nuclear weapons and free from nuclear threat.”

“The North and the South should further their efforts to realize the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” it said.

The envoys gave Kim a letter from Moon, the contents of which haven’t been disclosed. The same team — including Chung and National Intelligence Service chief Suh Hoon — helped broker Trump and Kim’s historic meeting in June.

Moon faces a difficult task as disagreements mount over the speed and sequence of efforts to eliminate North Korea’s nuclear arsenal and finally end the Korean War. While Kim pledged in June to “work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” his agreement with Trump didn’t define what that meant or offer a timetable for carrying it out.

Trump canceled a North Korea trip by Secretary of State Michael Pompeo last month, a day after it was announced, citing a lack of progress.

The envoys’ mission also included reaching an agreement on a date and agenda for the third inter-Korean summit between Moon and Kim to be held in Pyongyang. Such summit would make Moon the first South Korean leader to visit Pyongyang in 11 years.

Moon and Trump are expected to meet at the United Nations General Assembly later this month in New York.


© 2018 Bloomberg News

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