With multiple high-stakes summits coming up between Seoul, Pyeongyang and Washington, President Moon Jae-in called on North Korea to take bold steps towards denuclearization.
He revisited the idea of getting exemptions from sanctions to speed up the regime's process, but also said ultimate sanctions relief depends on the speed of the North's denuclearization.
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"To resolve the issue of international sanctions on North Korea, I believe the North should take practical, bolder steps towards denuclearization. And I believe corresponding measures, too, must be considered to further promote North Korea's denuclearization process.
The president said he hopes denuclearization will be sped up by the declaration of an official end to the Korean War.
As for the presence of U.S. troops in South Korea, President Moon said it has nothing to do with the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, which he noted includes both the North and military commitments by the U.S.
President Moon said Kim Jong-un understands this, adding that whether U.S. troops are stationed in the South is entirely up to Seoul and Washington and won't be part of the nuclear talks.
When it comes to the definition of Complete Verifiable and Irreversible Denuclearization, President Moon said there is no difference in understanding between Kim Jong-un and the international community.
And speaking about a possible second meeting between Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump, the South Korean leader said it may be imminent -- following Kim's surprise trip to Beijing this week to meet President Xi Jinping.
And President Moon expressed optimism that this time Kim and Trump will produce an agreement that's "more clear on actions to be taken by each side."
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"The second North Korea-U.S. summit, soon to take place, and a reciprocal visit to Seoul by Chairman Kim Jong-un could be turning points in securing peace on the Korean Peninsula."
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"The South Korean leader promised to keep the ball rolling this year and even speed up his push for peace. As for the visit to Seoul by Kim Jong-un, which has been delayed, President Moon thinks it might happen after the possibly imminent Pyeongyang-Washington summit.
Shin Se-min, Arirang News."