General

Denuclearisation to top Moon’s Pyongyang agenda: Seoul

Denuclearisation will be high on South

Korean President Moon Jae-in's agenda when he meets with North Korean leader

Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang this week, Moon's office said Monday.

Moon will fly to the North Korean capital on Tuesday for his third summit

with Kim in the latest stage of a diplomatic thaw on the peninsula, although

progress has stalled in denuclearisation talks between Pyongyang and

Washington.

We will push for North Korea's advanced denuclearisation and a reciprocal

measure from the US by swiftly reviving sincere dialogue aimed at

establishing new, peaceful relations, Moon's chief of staff Im Jong-seok

told reporters.

Moon, who met Kim twice this year, was instrumental in brokering the

historic Singapore summit between US President Donald Trump and Kim in June,

when Kim backed denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. But no details

were agreed and Washington and Pyongyang have sparred since over what that

means and how it will be achieved.

The US is pressing for the North's final, fully verified

denuclearisation, while Pyongyang has condemned demands for it to give up

its weapons unilaterally as gangster-like.

Im said the South Korean leader will try to close the gap between the US

and the North by playing the role of a mediator.

Through various meetings and phone calls, President Moon has a better

understanding of what the US is thinking than Chairman Kim, he said.

Moon will become the third South Korean leader to visit Pyongyang and will

hold at least two meetings with Kim, who may make a rare appearance at the

airport to welcome his guests, the chief of staff said.

He is also scheduled to attend a concert and visit key sites in the North's

capital with his delegation, which includes tycoons Lee Jae-yong � the heir

to the Samsung group � and the vice chairman of Hyundai Motor.

Moon has been pushing inter-Korean economic co-operation but several South

Korean newspapers urged caution Monday, with the Korea Herald calling the

businessmen's presence on the trip untimely.

It is better to postpone economic projects involving the North until after

negotiations to remove its nuclear program make substantial progress, it

said in an editorial.

And investment in the North was fraught with risks and uncertainty, it

added.

Other issues on Moon's agenda will be improving inter-Korean ties and

easing military tensions on the peninsula, which the South said could lay the

ground for declaring a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended with

an armistice rather than a peace treaty.

That suggested a declaration � which Pyongyang has been pressing for

strongly � was unlikely during Moon's trip.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)