South Korean President Moon Jae-in said it’s time to prepare for talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, commenting just days after returning from a visit to the White House where he tried to get faltering nuclear negotiations back on track.
Moon, who has tried to be a bridge between Kim and President Donald Trump, said North Korea’s leader is committed to denuclearisation and the US president feels a top-down peace process is necessary for the divided peninsula. Kim and Trump’s February summit collapsed without a deal, with both sides blaming the other for the breakdown.
“Now is the time to begin the preparations in earnest for an inter-Korean summit. As soon as North Korea is ready, I hope the two Koreas will sit down together regardless of venue and form,” Moon said at a meeting with his senior secretaries, according to a pool report from the presidential Blue House.
In his White House meeting with Moon, Trump rejected calls for confidence-building economic projects with North Korea, in a blow to the South Korean president’s efforts to restart the nuclear talks.
Moon was also battered when Kim said in a speech before the country’s Supreme People’s Assembly that South Korea should “not pose as a meddlesome mediator.” He criticised Moon’s government for standing with the US in enforcing sanctions crippling North Korea’s economy and holding joint military drills with the US, according to North Korea’s state-run media.
Kim called on the US to offer acceptable terms for an agreement by the end of the year, remarks that suggested an attempt to breathe new life into the stalled negotiations.
South Korea’s Moon said that Kim showed his commitment for continuing dialogue at the Supreme People’s Assembly.