Two Koreas to Hold Summit as Kim Renews Denuclearisation Pledge
The leaders of the two Koreas will hold a summit in Pyongyang in September, Seoul said Thursday, as the North's leader Kim Jong Un renewed his commitment to the denuclearisation of the flashpoint peninsula.
The announcement of the September 18-20 summit -- the third between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in this year -- comes as US efforts to dismantle the North's nuclear arsenal have stalled.
The two leaders will meet in the North Korean capital to discuss "practical measures to denuclearise" the Korean peninsula, South Korean National Security Advisor Chung Eui-yong told reporters.
Chung flew to the North on Wednesday where he handed over a personal letter from Moon to Kim, as Seoul seeks to kick-start the diplomacy that led to the landmark summit between US President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader in June, where they pledged to denuclearise the Korean peninsula.
But no details were agreed at the Singapore summit and Washington and Pyongyang have sparred since on what that means and how it will be achieved.
However, in his meeting with Chung, Kim renewed his commitment to that goal, North Korean state media said Thursday.
The two Koreas "should further their efforts to realise the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula", Kim was quoted as saying by KCNA.
"It is our fixed stand and... will to completely remove the danger of armed conflict and horror of war from the Korean peninsula and turn it into the cradle of peace without nuclear weapons and free from nuclear threat."
- 'Sense of frustration' -The pledge comes after Trump, frustrated with a lack of progress on disarmament, last month cancelled Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's trip to Pyongyang after the North reportedly sent a belligerent letter to the US leader.
Kim made it clear that his "trust in Trump remains unchanged" despite the difficulties, Chung said, and expressed his "intention to work closely with the US" and "achieve the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula in the first official term of President Trump."
But the North Korean leader also expressed a "sense of frustration" with the international community for not appreciating what he called Pyongyang's "very significant and meaningful" steps, Chung said.
Kim noted the North had dismantled its nuclear test site in Punggye-ri, where nuclear tests "have been made impossible for good", according to the South Korean envoy.
"Chairman Kim asked us to convey the message to the US that the US (should) help create situations where he would feel his decision to denuclearise was a right move", Chung added.
North Korea has demanded that Washington agree to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War, and accused it of failing to reciprocate "goodwill measures".
But American officials and conservatives in the South are concerned such a declaration would weaken the US-South Korea alliance and deprive the 28,000 US forces stationed on the peninsula of their deployment rationale.
Kim dismissed such worries, Chung said, and told the South Korean delegation that a formal end of the Korean War would not be linked to the withdrawal of the US troops.