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South Korean President Moon Jae-in smiles as he presides over a meeting to make preparations for upcoming summit between South and North Korea in Pyongyang, North Korea, from Sept. 18-20 at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea.

Moon wants 'irrevocable progress' in nuke diplomacy

Fri, September 07, 2018 15:47

SEOUL, South Korea, Sept 7, 2018 (News Wires) - South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Friday that he is pushing for "irrevocable progress" in efforts to rid North Korea of its nuclear weapons by the end of this year as he prepares for his third summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Earlier this week, Moon sent special envoys to Pyongyang to help resolve the nuclear stalemate. After returning home, the envoys said Thursday that Kim still has faith in US President Donald Trump and reaffirmed his commitment to a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula, although he expressed frustration over skepticism about his sincerity.

Trump later responded by tweeting, "Kim Jong Un of North Korea proclaims 'unwavering faith in President Trump.' Thank you to Chairman Kim. We will get it done together!" Moon said the outcome of his envoys' Pyongyang trip was "much more than what was expected."

The next step in nuclear diplomacy is uncertain. Negotiators seem deadlocked over whether North Korea truly intends to denuclearize as it has pledged numerous times in recent months. North Korea has dismantled its nuclear and rocket engine testing sites, but US officials want more serious, concrete action taken before North Korea obtains outside concessions.

Kim told the South Korean envoys that he is willing to take stronger steps if his "goodwill" measures are met in kind, according to chief envoy Chung Eui-yong. Kim has repeatedly said he wants a step-by-step disarmament process in which each of his actions is reciprocated with corresponding outside concessions.

North Korea, which says its nuclear program is aimed at countering US military threats, has demanded the United States jointly declare an end to the 1950-53 Korean War, which was halted by an armistice, not a peace treaty.

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