Monday, 22 October, 2018

[Breaking] N. Korea's Kim sends expensive yet touchy gift to Moon

Patty Aguilar | 20 September, 2018, 19:19

North Korea's leader wants to complete denuclearisation quickly and hold a second summit with Donald Trump soon, South Korea's president says.

North Koreans applaud as they listen to South Korean President Moon Jae-in's speech at the May Day Stadium in Pyongyang, Wednesday.

After the two leaders pledged new steps aimed at salvaging nuclear talks on Wednesday, Moon and Kim made a decision to use the final day of their three-day summit to go up the symbolic mountain on the Chinese border together.

But while containing several tantalizing offers, their joint statement appeared to fall short of the major steps many in Washington have been looking for - such as a commitment by Kim to provide a list of North Korea's nuclear facilities, a solid step-by-step timeline for closing them down, or an agreement to allow worldwide inspectors to assess progress or discover violations.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pose for photographs on the top of Mt. Paektu, North Korea September 20, 2018.

"Kim Jong-un has agreed to allow nuclear inspections, subject to final negotiations, and to permanently dismantle a test site and launch pad in the presence of worldwide experts", Trump claimed hyperbolically.

Moon will also convey to Trump both his and Kim's desire to obtain a declaration ending the Korean War by the end of this year, he said.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has expressed his willingness to continue to take measures towards his country's denuclearisation, including the permanent dismantlement of the Yongbyon nuclear facilities, where a 5 MWe plutonium-producing reactor is located.

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Meanwhile, the South Korean presidential office on Wednesday announced Moon and Kim will visit Mount Paektu Thursday morning. "We discussed some of it, but we did not have it written down so I can not reveal any of the discussed items with you here", he said.

The process had stalled after the historic Singapore summit between Trump and Kim in June, when Kim declared his backing for denuclearisation of the peninsula but no details were agreed. "I now propose that we completely eliminate the hostility of the past 70 years and take a big step forward in peace so that we can become one again".

South Korean President Moon Jae-in puts water from the crater lake into a bottle as his wife Kim Jung-sook watches. Moon was born in South Korea in 1953.

What else did Moon's visit achieve?

"There is nothing the North has offered so far that would constitute irreversible movement toward denuclearisation, however you define that, by January 2021 or any other time, or even a reduction of the military threat it poses to the South and the region", said a United States intelligence official.

"I have a dream that I have not been able to fulfill for a long time, which is trekking Mount Paektu and the Kaema Plateau", Moon said during a banquet after his first summit with Kim in April, which took place at the demilitarized zone separating the two neighbors. "They don't meaningfully constrain North Korea's nuclear programme".

"On the basis of these important commitments, the United States is prepared to engage immediately in negotiations to transform US-DPRK relations", Mr Pompeo said in a statement, referring to the North's official name Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

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