Kim Jong Un wants another Trump summit to speed denuclearization: Moon Jae-In

Kim Jong Un wants another Trump summit to speed denuclearization: Moon Jae-In
PHOTO: Reuters

SEOUL - North Korea's Kim Jong Un wants a second summit with US President Donald Trump soon to hasten denuclearization, but a key goal is declaring an end this year to the 1950-53 Korean War, the South's President Moon Jae-in said on Thursday.

Moon said he and Kim spent most of a three-day summit discussing how to break an impasse and restart nuclear talks between Pyongyang and Washington, which are at odds over which should come first, denuclearization or ending the war.

Kim, who recently proposed another summit with Trump after their unprecedented June talks in Singapore, said the North was willing to "permanently dismantle" key missile facilities in the presence of outside experts, and the Yongbyon main nuclear complex, if the United States took corresponding action.

The joint statement from the summit stipulates his commitment to a "verifiable, irreversible dismantlement" of the nuclear programs, and ending the war would be a first US reciprocal step, Moon said.

"Chairman Kim expressed his wish that he wanted to complete denuclearization quickly and focus on economic development," Moon told a news conference in Seoul, shortly after returning from the summit with Kim in Pyongyang.

"He hoped a second summit with Trump would take place in the near future, in order to move the denuclearization process along quickly."

When Trump met Kim: A Singapore story

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    Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un made history Tuesday, becoming the first sitting US and North Korean leaders to meet and shake hands, as they seek to end a tense decades-old nuclear stand-off.

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    It was a meeting many would have thought unimaginable just months ago.

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    The two men strode toward each other and shared the momentous handshake beneath the white-washed walls of an upscale hotel in neutral Singapore, before sitting down for a half-day of meetings with major ramifications for the world.

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    Prior to the meeting held at Capella Hotel in Singapore's resort island of Sentosa, Trump had said that he would know "within the first minute", whether any agreement would be possible.

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    The watching world is not sure if it's the start of a beautiful, budding "bromance", but here's a look at how the world's most talked-about first date unfolded.

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    Their handshake reportedly lasted for 12 long seconds (though still 7 seconds shorter than his memorable handshake with Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe).

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    Trump also reached out to touch the North Korean leader on his right shoulder.

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    According to a body language expert Karen Leong, the first 60 seconds showed both leaders seeking to take charge in their encounter. US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un both sought to project a sense of command. "Their handshake seems to be between peers," she said.

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    "Trump seemed to be very aware of this, that he needed to up the stakes and be seen that he is the leader."

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    Trump did most of the talking, and Kim appeared to listen attentively, turning to him three times during their walk toward their meeting room.

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    Trump did most of the talking, and Kim appeared to listen attentively, turning to him three times during their walk toward their meeting room.

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    The US President, who is more than twice Kim's age, then appeared to lead the way to the library where they held a one-on-one meeting, placing his hand on the North Korean leader's counterpart's back.

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    Kim also patted the US president' arm, in an attempt to show control over the encounter, said Leong.

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    The leaders appeared to share a few light-hearted moments as they walked down a corridor to the hotel's library.

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    However, Leong said both found it difficult to conceal their nervousness once they were seated, with Trump displaying a slanted smile, and fidgeting with his hands and Kim leaning and staring at the ground.

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    As they sat down for their one-on-one meeting, the US leader predicted a "terrific relationship" with Kim.

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    Mr Kim then said through a translator: “The way to come to here was not easy.The old prejudices and practices worked as obstacles on our way forward but we overcame all of them and we are here today.”

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    After their closed door one-on-one talks, the pair continued with explanded bilateral talks with their delegation. Trump was flanked by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, chief of staff John Kelly and national security adviser John Bolton.

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    Sitting across the table from the US team were North Korean leader Kim, Kim Yong-chol, first vice department director of the ruling Workers’ Party’s central committee, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho and Ri Su-yong, Workers’ Party vice chairman on international affairs.

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    Thereafter, the two leaders attended a working lunch with their respective delegations at Capella Hotel.

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    On the lunch menu: Main courses include beef short rib confit, served with potato dauphinois and steamed broccoli; sweet and sour crispy pork and fried rice with an "XO" chilli sauce as well as a Korean dish called "daegu jorim", which is a soy braised cod fish with radish and Asian vegetables.

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    Post-lunch, Kim and Trump then went for a leisurely stroll around the hotel grounds.

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    He also said talks had gone "better than anybody could have expected", and indicated that they were heading for a "signing", but did not divulge any details of the agreement.

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    During their walk, Trump unexpectedly gave Kim a peek into his super limo, nicknamed "The Beast".

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    But they did not get to hop on to go for a joyride, as commentators had hoped.

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    The pair met to sign an agreement, details of which were not revealed during the signing. Trump said: "We're signing a very important document, pretty comprehensive document, and we've had a really great time together, a great relationship... More will be discussed at a press conference soon."

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    When asked what he learnt about Kim, Trump said that he is "a very talented man", and that "he loves his country very much".

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    Mr Trump also described Mr Kim as a "very worthy, very smart negotiator".

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    According to sources after the signing, the two leaders pledged to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, while Washington committed to provide security guarantees for its old enemy.

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    The signatures of US President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un. Trump said he expected the denuclearization process to start "very, very quickly".

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    Kim places a hand on Trump's back as they leave the room after the signing.

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    After the signing, the pair walked out for another round of photo-taking.

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    Reports say Mr Kim departed Singapore on a chartered Air China flight at 11.20pm and midnight on Tuesday, while Trump left on Air Force One earlier at 6.25pm.

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    At 4pm, Trump held a press conference on the summit outcome and details on the agreement signed.

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    "We signed a joint statement that is an unwavering commitment to complete denuclearisation of North Korea," he says.

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    The Capella Hotel on Singapore's resort island of Sentosa, provided the backdrop for the historic summit.

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    Trump's motorcade arriving at Sentosa on Tuesday (June 12) morning.

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    Setting the stage ready for the handshake that will be seen across the world.

INSPECTIONS

Moon said Kim was also open to inspection of a nuclear test site in the northwest town of Punggye-ri, which he called the North's sole existing facility for underground detonations.

While Pyongyang has stopped nuclear and missile tests this year, it failed to keep its pledge to allow international inspections of its dismantling of the Punggye-ri site in May, stirring criticism that the move could be reversed.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday he had invited North Korea's foreign minister to meet in New York next week and other Pyongyang officials to Vienna for talks with nuclear envoy Stephen Biegun.

Asked on Thursday if those meetings would take place, US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said invitations had been sent and added: "We certainly stand ready to meet if they are able to."

Nauert said Washington looked forward to a formal readout of the North-South talks in meetings with the South Koreans next week, which will include one between Trump and Moon on Monday on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

Asked about Pompeo's statement on Wednesday welcoming plans for the dismantlement of all facilities at Yongbyon in the presence of US and IAEA inspectors, Nauert said Moon and Kim had talked about inspectors.

"Having IAEA inspectors and United States inspectors be a part of anything is really just a shared understanding," she said.

"Any time you have a nuclear situation like this where there is a dismantlement, the expectation is that the IAEA would be part of that, so that would be just the normal course of doing business. We have that shared understanding with the countries."

Asked why this detail was not in the document signed by Moon and Kim, Nauert replied: "We have had conversations ... with the government of North Korea and that is our mutual understanding; that is also the understanding between (South) Korea and North Korea. That was one of the things discussed, according to my understanding of it, over the past few days."

Nauert did not respond when asked if the United States was willing to take "corresponding measures," except to say: "Nothing can happen in the absence of denuclearization; denuclearization has to come first."

The North Korean ambassador to the United Nations, Kim Song, did not reply when asked by reporters on Thursday if his foreign minister would meet Pompeo on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly next week.

ENDING WAR

Kim pledged to work toward the "complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula" during two meetings with Moon and his encounter with Trump, but follow-up negotiations on how to implement the vague commitments have since faltered.

Washington calls for concrete action, such as a full disclosure of North Korea's nuclear and missile facilities, before satisfying Pyongyang's key demands, including an official end to the war and the easing of international sanctions.

The war ended in an armistice, rather than a peace treaty, meaning US-led United Nations forces, including South Korea, are technically still at war with the North.

But there have been concerns in South Korea and the United States that ending the war would ultimately prompt China and Russia, if not North Korea, to demand that the United Nations Command (UNC), which overlaps with US forces in South Korea, be disbanded and leave.

Seoul aims to jointly announce with the United States an end to the war within this year, a measure Moon said he would discuss with Trump when they meet next week at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

An end-of-war declaration would not affect the presence of US troops and the UNC in the South, Moon said, adding that Kim shared his view.

"It would be a political declaration that would mark a starting point for peace negotiations," Moon said.

"A peace treaty would be sealed, as well as normalisation of North Korea-US relations, after the North achieves complete denuclearization."

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