Published: Sat, August 18, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

N. Korea talks moving 'in right direction'

N. Korea talks moving 'in right direction'

However, he added that economic cooperation could not be fully realized as long as North Korea maintained its nuclear arsenal.

In a remark that echoed the North's demands for a step-by-step denuclearization approach in which Washington gives something in return for each denuclearization step Pyongyang takes, Moon said he hoped "corresponding comprehensive measures by the United States will be pursed quickly" for the North's "complete denuclearization".

"An improvement in inter-Korean ties is not a collateral benefit to better relations between the United States and the North", he said.

US President Donald Trump and DPRK's leader Kim Jong-un shake hands during the signing of a document after their summit at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore, June 12, 2018.

Moon and Kim committed during their first meeting in April to connecting their road and rail networks as a "first step" toward restarting economic cooperation.

But in order for the project to proceed, North Korea should carry out practical denuclearization steps so that worldwide sanctions barring foreign investments or business deals with Pyongyang could be lifted.

A group of war veterans from the former Soviet Union participated, and thousands of people cheered their soccer team to victory over a South Korean squad in the opening match of an under-15 youth tournament in Pyongyang featuring players from several countries. Besides the emotional significance of formally ending the tragic war that has kept North and South Korea separated and technically enemies for almost 70 years, a peace treaty is a critical step in achieving Pyongyang's security, economic and political objectives.

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Officials from both sides meeting in the truce village of Panmunjom, in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) that separates the two Koreas, reached an agreement on a September summit between the countries' leaders in the North's capital of Pyongyang.

As with the late May summit, this one comes amid signs that US-North Korea diplomacy is stumbling. "We will have correspondence with the North Korean government as we look to denuclearize North Korea".

Pompeo has pressed other countries to continue enforcing global sanctions against Kim's regime while seeking a concrete time frame for North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons.

However, the president said inter-Korean cooperation may take off in earnest only after the North completely denuclearises. Seoul has been preparing for possible economic collaboration with Pyongyang that could go ahead when sanctions are lifted.

Workers' Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun reported Tuesday Kim Il Sung University, named after the founder of the country, is in the midst of constructing a tech development center, and the work began February 2017. At the Panmunjom summit, Kim also agreed to work toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. "That we are meeting to exchange talks in such a friendly mood like right now, signifies that the communication is working".

"Peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula is a promise shared between their two leaders and the world", Moon said.

Information for this article was contributed by Jihye Lee of Bloomberg News; by Youkyung Lee of The Associated Press; by Choe Sang-Hun of The New York Times; and by Simon Denyer and Min Joo Kim of The Washington Post.

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