Thursday, 13 Dec 2018

Trump wants to fulfill Kim's wishes, says South Korea, as the new series of summits looms

South Korean President Moon Jae-in shakes hands with President Trump on November 30 at the Group of 20 Summit in Buenos Aires. (Hwang Kwang-Mo / AP)

President Trump has a "very friendly vision" of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and will fulfill his wishes when he renounces his nuclear weapons, but until sanctions remain in place, said the South Korean President Moon Jae-in. .

Moon also expressed optimism about Kim's upcoming visit to Seoul, marking the first time a North Korean leader has done so and sending the world a message about his commitment to denuclearization. .

After meeting Trump at the top of the Group of 20 in Buenos Aires, Moon said Trump had given him a message to carry to Kim.

"And the message was that President Trump has a very friendly vision of President Kim and that he likes it, so he wants President Kim to implement the rest of their agreement and that he will be happy. he realizes what President Kim wants to achieve, "said Moon reporters on his presidential plane.

But Trump and Moon have also agreed on the need to maintain existing sanctions against North Korea until it becomes completely nuclear-free, President Yoon Young-chan's spokesman said in a statement. weekend.

This statement would seem to leave the talks in the same stalemate where they have been stuck for weeks, with North Korea calling for a lifting of sanctions before making further concessions and rejecting US demand for a list of its nuclear facilities and missiles. .

But Moon said the North was asking for "corresponding measures" that did not have to be a reduction or lifting of sanctions.

He suggested that these measures could include the postponement or reduction of military exercises, humanitarian assistance or sports and cultural exchanges between South Korea and South Korea, while a formal declaration ending the 1950-53 Korean war "may also be considered".

The war ended with an armistice rather than an official peace treaty, and North Korea called for an end-of-war declaration ending hostile relations with the United States. But Washington is worried about signing an agreement that could be used to undermine the status of the US military presence in South Korea.

Over the weekend, Trump told reporters that he was hoping to hold a second summit with Kim early next year, possibly in January or February, and that three sites were up for grabs. # 39; study.

"We are getting along very well. We have good relations, "Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One.

When asked if he was planning to invite Kim to the United States, he said, "At some point, yes."

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Moon and Trump "reaffirmed their commitment to achieving the final and fully verified denuclearization" of North Korea, and agreed on the need to "vigorously maintain The application of existing sanctions for North Korea to understand that denuclearization is the only way. "

Moon said that Kim could travel to Seoul for a summit before meeting with Trump, while the South Korean Unification Ministry said Monday that he still hoped that such a visit could be organized before the end of the year.

"I think Kim's visit to Seoul will itself be a peaceful message to the world, but also a message of his commitment to denuclearization and the development of inter-Korean relations," said Mr Moon.

Moon said that if the North Korean leader came to Seoul, "all the South Korean people will welcome Kim with open arms".

But the Conservatives will certainly challenge this statement.

In an editorial, right-wing DongA Ilbo warned that a precipitous Kim's visit to Seoul would only produce "pink tinted cuddles" that would not lead to substantial progress in denuclearization, while Chosun Ilbo warned of a repeat of the "fiasco" if Trump and Kim meet a second time without making any progress in nuclear negotiations.

Min Joo Kim in Seoul contributed to this report.


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