BFF-17 S.Korea’s Moon still hopes to host Kim this year

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S.Korea’s Moon still hopes to host Kim this year

AUCKLAND, Dec 4, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un could
still visit Seoul for the first time in the next few weeks, South Korean
President Moon Jae-in said Tuesday, describing the possible trip as a major
boost in efforts to make the peninsula nuclear-free.

Moon and Kim have met three times in 2018 amid warming ties between the
two Koreas, with Seoul hoping to host a first-ever visit by Kim to the South
before year’s end.

But prospects of another meeting in coming weeks have dimmed as
denuclearisation talks have stalled, prompting Moon to say that the planned
visit’s timing should not overshadow its historic nature.

“There is a possibility that Chairman Kim Jong Un’s visit to Seoul may be
made within this year, but there’s more important things than the timing,” he
said in translated remarks during a visit to New Zealand.

“Whether it’s this year or not isn’t that important, what’s important is
that the North Korea leader’s visit to South Korea will definitely accelerate
the denuclearisation process in the Korean peninsula.”

Moon said a visit by Kim to the South would also improve US-North Korea
relations as Kim and President Donald Trump look to follow up their June
summit in Singapore.

“I believe that our efforts will definitely give a positive impetus to the
second US-North Korea summit meeting,” he said.

“President Trump and I share a view in that regard.”

Moon emphasised the impact Kim’s presence in South Korea would have on the
two nations.

“This will be the first time that the North Korean leader will visit South
Korea since Korea was divided into two countries,” he said.

“Although there’s no timeframe set, that’s still very meaningful. We can
improve South and North Korean relations as well as attain permanent peace on
the Korean peninsula and denuclearisation.”

North and South Korea have begun to remove landmines and destroy some
military bunkers along their common border as part of the detente. However,
Washington is taking a more cautious approach towards Pyongyang amid sparring
over interpretation of a vaguely worded denuclearisation document signed at
the Singapore summit.

Trump said on Saturday that he hoped to organise a second summit with Kim
in early 2019.

BSS/AFP/MSY/0946 hrs