The Republic of Korea's President Moon Jae-in delivers a speech during a ceremony to celebrate the Korean Liberation Day, marking the 73rd anniversary of Korea's liberation from the Japanese colonial rule, in Seoul, Aug 15, 2018. Moon said on Sept 7 that he is pushing for "irrevocable progress" on efforts to rid the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) of its nukes by the end of this year. (LEE JIN-MAN / AP)
SEOUL — The Republic of Korea (ROK)'s President Moon Jae-in said Friday that he's pushing for "irrevocable progress" on efforts to rid the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) of its nukes by the end of this year as he prepares for his third summit with DPRK leader Kim Jong-un.
Earlier this week, Moon sent special envoys to Pyongyang to help resolve the nuclear stalemate. After returning home, his envoys said Thursday that Kim still has faith in US President Donald Trump and reaffirmed his commitment to a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula though Kim expressed frustration over outside skepticism about his sincerity.
What matters is implementing with sincerity the agreements among the leaders, and our objective is producing irrevocable progress by the end of this year," Moon said, referring to denuclearization and a permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula
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 DPRK is also referred to as North Korea.
The next step in nuclear diplomacy is uncertain. Negotiators seem deadlocked over whether the DPRK truly intends to denuclearize as it has pledged numerous times in recent months. DPRK has dismantled its nuclear and rocket engine testing sites, but US officials want more serious, concrete action taken before DPRK obtains outside concessions.
While meeting the ROK envoys, Kim said he's willing to take stronger steps if his "goodwill" measures are met in kind, according to chief ROK envoy Chung Eui-yong. Kim has repeatedly said he wants a step-by-step disarmament process, where each of his actions is reciprocated with corresponding outside concessions.
DPRK, which says its nuclear program is aimed at countering US military threats, has demanded the United States jointly declare the end the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended with an armistice not a peace treaty. During his meeting with the ROK envoys, Kim said an end-of-war declaration wouldn't weaken the US-ROK alliance or lead to the withdrawal of the 28,500 US troops stationed in ROK to prevent DPRK attack, according to Chung.
Moon's liberal government, which is keen on continuing engagement with DPRK, also wants the declaration. In a written interview released Friday with Indonesian newspaper Kompas, Moon said he wants to see such a declaration made this year as part of trust-building measures.
"What matters is implementing with sincerity the agreements among the leaders, and our objective is producing irrevocable progress by the end of this year," Moon said, referring to denuclearization and a permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula.
During the Seoul envoys' trip, the two Koreas agreed Kim and Moon would meet in Pyongyang from Sept 18-20, in their third summit since April. ROK officials say the summit will focus on how to achieve the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
HONG KONG NEWS