Thursday, October 21, 2021

UN: Kim Jong-un makes surprise offer to ease North Korea nuclear threats

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In U.S.-North Korea summit in Vietnam, Kim Jong-un suggested that both sides should take action to reduce ‘mutual negative impact’ on each other and ease tensions, South Korea’s presidential office said on Sunday. The South Korean presidential office said in a statement that the two sides agreed to make preparations to “help reduce the current negative impact” of sanctions and halt the deployment of THAAD, a U.S. anti-missile system. The two Koreas should also take steps to reduce their military tensions, South Korea’s presidential office said in a statement after Kim’s trilateral meeting with President Moon Jae-in and his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in.

Trump said on Saturday the United States may be able to have talks with North Korea in the “not too distant future” but he did not know when. But his talks with Kim had gone “better than anybody could have imagined”, he said. Moon, for his part, said the leaders had maintained momentum for dialogue and talks could take place “any time, any place, any format”. President Moon had “informed President Trump that we understand his desire to have direct and continuous communications with the North Korean leader”, the South Korean presidential office statement said. “President Trump appreciated President Moon’s effort,” the statement said. President Trump said later he was “very pleased” that Kim indicated he was ready to talk to the United States about denuclearisation.

In Kim’s third summit with South Korean President Moon, the two Koreas agreed to dismantle the Kaesong Industrial Complex, a North Korean joint-venture with the South, at a later date. They also decided to resume reunions of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War and to pursue a reunion of families who have not seen each other in decades at the end of November. North Korea had slammed what it called a “gangster-like” pressure campaign, including US-led UN sanctions, that it accused of undermining peace and security in the region and demanded it be lifted before any progress in dialogue. After the summit, the two leaders agreed to open the talks with the United States, sending their national security advisers.

North Korea has long been pressing for the lifting of sanctions to facilitate the resumption of stalled economic projects with Seoul. Kim is expected to meet Trump at a summit this year, but the two leaders still have a long way to go before North Korea gives up its nuclear weapons. Kim proposed to Moon last week that he would discuss lifting or reducing sanctions with the United States in response to its promises to denuclearise. Moon said the two Koreas should make preparations for a meeting with Trump if there was a clear sign of a change in North Korea’s position on denuclearisation. The South Korean president suggested that North Korea should do the same. “During the DPRK-US talks, we must deliver the outcome of the talks and practical measures set out during the trilateral meeting to our understanding and our agreement with the US in order to give meaning to the DPRK-US talks,” the presidential statement said, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

President Trump also applauded Kim’s statement. “Good meeting in Hanoi, I am told by Kim Jong Un,” he tweeted. “Hopefully we will be able to make a deal on the de-nuking of North Korea. Meeting went very well – a great atmosphere was created!”

North Korea first tested an atomic device in 2006, and has since developed a nuclear-capable missile capable of reaching the U.S. mainland. Trump has vowed not to allow North Korea to develop nuclear missiles capable of reaching the United States. North Korea may finally be ready to denuclearise, Moon said, due to the absence of “hostile intentions” and the recent denuclearisation actions. “What matters is what practical steps North Korea will take to address the concerns of the international community by the North,” he said.

“Presidents Trump and Moon agreed that the implementation of sanctions will be continued no matter the developments at the talks,” the South Korean presidential office said.

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