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Moon calls for all-out efforts to support US-NK dialogue

President Moon Jae-in on Monday called on the government to facilitate US-North Korea dialogue while stressing that the recent summit was not without results.

Speaking at the first National Security Council meeting he had presided over in eight months, Moon said the result of the US-North Korea summit was less than hoped for, but the Feb. 27-28 summit in Hanoi served to highlight important advances in denuclearization talks. 

President Moon Jae-in speaks at the National Security Council meeting on Monday. Yonhap
President Moon Jae-in speaks at the National Security Council meeting on Monday. Yonhap

The meeting, the second between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, was cut short without the signing of an agreement. In a press conference that followed, Trump said he was forced to call off the signing of an agreement due to North Korea’s demands for all sanctions to be lifted.

“Firstly, complete dismantlement of the Yongbyon nuclear facility was discussed. Dismantling of the Yongbyon nuclear facility, which is the foundation of North Korea’s nuclear facilities, verified and observed by the US, is within sight,” Moon said. He added that should the Yongbyon facility with its uranium and plutonium processing capabilities be completely decommissioned, denuclearization of the North will enter an “irreversible phase.”

“Secondly, partial economic sanctions relief was discussed. It shows that US-North Korea dialogue has entered the stage of mutual and comprehensive discussion that deals with the North’s practical denuclearization steps along with corresponding measures from the US.”

Moon also cited liaison offices being discussed as an important milestone in the US-North Korea dialogue, saying that a US office in North Korea could set the stage for US experts in verifying future denuclearization measures and provide a stepping stone for normalizing their relations.

Moon also said the two sides expressing trust in each other and refraining from criticizing were positive signs that came out of the meeting.

During the press conference in Hanoi on Feb. 28, Trump emphasized that the meeting ended on amiable terms despite being cut short, and that he believes his relationship with Kim is unaffected.

Moon went on to stress the importance of the role Seoul has in US-North Korea dialogue, asking concerned ministries to seek ways to aid talks on all levels between the two countries.

“First, (the ministries) should clearly define the differences in the two sides’ positions, and seek ways to narrow the gap,” Moon said.

“Second, seek ways to support US-North Korea dialogue by improving inter-Korean relations within the framework of sanctions.”

By Choi He-suk (cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)
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