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Iran Press TV

Second Trump-Kim summit imminent: South Korea's Moon

Iran Press TV

Thu Jan 10, 2019 07:26AM

South Korean President Moon Jae-in says he thinks a second meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is "imminent."

The South Korean leader made the announcement in a press conference on Thursday, a day after Kim ended his two-day trip to the Chinese capital, Beijing, his fourth in about 10 months.

"Kim Jong-un's visit to China signaled that the second summit between North Korea and the United States is imminent, I think," President Moon said.

"Perhaps in the near future, I'm expecting to hear news of high-level talks between North Korea and the United States that will take place for the second summit," he added.

A meeting is already said to have been planned between US and North Korean officials in Vietnam to discuss the site of the second Trump-Kim summit.

South Korea has acted as a go-between in diplomacy involving the US and North Korea ever since Pyongyang and Seoul started a rapprochement of their own in January 2018.

Multilateral diplomacy led to the first summit between Trump and Kim in July last year, which was held in Singapore. There, Trump and Kim broadly agreed to work toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

But follow-on diplomacy, at lower levels, has snagged, and a second summit may help remove some of the obstacles.

On Wednesday, the second day of his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, Kim "raised concern about the deadlock created in the process of improving" Pyongyang-Washington relations and in denuclearization talks, according to North Korean state media.

The US has refused to lift any of the sanctions it has imposed on North Korea over its nuclear program.

Pyongyang has since before the first Trump-Kim summit taken several unilateral measures toward peace and has been complaining about the US's failure to reciprocate any of those measures, including by offering sanctions relief.

Kim on Wednesday said that he wanted to "achieve results" on the nuclear standoff on the peninsula in his second summit with Trump, stressing that his country would "make efforts for the second summit between DPRK (North Korea) and US leaders to achieve results that will be welcomed by the international community."

But North Korea has also warned that it would take "a new path" if the US fails to cooperate.

Moon, the South Korean president, further said on Thursday that he would make his own efforts to resolve the issue of the sanctions imposed on the North.

He said he would push for the removal of sanctions to facilitate the reopening of the North's Kaesong Industrial Region, which borders the South and was jointly run by both countries until February 2016, when Seoul ordered the closure of the zone and recalled all the country's staff in an apparent response to the North's declared test of a hydrogen bomb a month earlier.

By early 2013, 123 South Korean companies were employing some 53,000 North Korean workers and 800 South Korean staff at the zone.

Moon also said he would strive to reopen the Mount Kumgang Tourist Region, an administrative area of the North that borders the South and was established in 2002 to handle South Korean tourist traffic to Mount Kumgang.

Despite hostilities going back decades, the two Koreas have significantly advanced their relations since last year.

The South Korean president also praised China, the North's key ally, for its efforts toward peace on the Korean Peninsula.

"China has done much in terms of North Korea's denuclearisation and establishment of peace," he said.

During his visit to China, Kim held in-depth discussions with Chinese President Xi Jinping on how to "jointly study and steer" the situation on the Korean Peninsula and denuclearization talks, North Korea's state media said on Thursday.

President Xi also hoped Washington and Pyongyang would "meet each other halfway."

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