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S. Korean president vows joint efforts with France to build peace

PARIS -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Saturday vowed increased cooperation with France to address major global issues, such as climate change, while also stressing the need for joint efforts to denuclearize North Korea and establish lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.

"Day after tomorrow, I will hold a summit meeting with President Emmanuel Macron. (We) will hold in-depth discussions on key issues facing the international community, such as climate change, environment, terrorism and human rights, along with new growth strategies that will ensure the future," Moon said while meeting with some 200 South Korean residents in France.


The South Korean president arrived here earlier in the day on a four-day state visit. An official welcome ceremony for Moon will be held Monday, followed by the Moon-Macron summit that will mark the second of its kind since both leaders took office last year.

Moon's trip here comes amid his efforts to further accelerate North Korea's denuclearization process, which earlier hit a stumbling block after US President Donald Trump called off a scheduled North Korea trip by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, citing a lack of progress in the process.

Denuclearization talks between the United States and North Korea resumed shortly after Moon made his first-ever trip to Pyongyang last month for his third bilateral summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Still, how soon the North will actually give up its nuclear weapons remains unknown, Moon noted earlier, saying the issue needs to be discussed between the US and the North.

Pyongyang is said to be demanding timely rewards for denuclearization steps it has already taken or promised to take in the near future, while Washington insists on maximum pressure and sanctions against the impoverished state until the country fully denuclearizes.

"Most of all, I will ask France, which is a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a key member of the EU, to lend its support for denuclearization and lasting peace of the Korean Peninsula," Moon said of his upcoming summit with his French counterpart.

"I am confident a peaceful Korean Peninsula will soon come to us. I will build a Republic of Korea that you can be proud of," he added, referring to his country by its official name.

The South Korean president will head to Italy on Tuesday for official visits to the European state and the Vatican.

He is currently on a four-nation tour that will also take him to Belgium for the biennial Asia-Europe Meeting summit. (Yonhap)