Summit ends on positive note

Kim and Moon conclude talks as US pledges to improve ties

The ROK president Moon Jae-in and the DPRK top leader Kim Jong-un concluded their landmark summit on Thursday, with Washington saying it planned to improve relations with Pyongyang.

Moon’s three-day trip to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has produced a series of tangible results, including Kim’s pledge to take concrete denuclearization steps, such as dismantling the country’s ICBM test site, and his pledge to make a visit to Seoul this year.

The two leaders also agreed to take sweeping measures to reduce military tensions and further bolster inter-Korean exchanges and economic cooperation, such as reconnecting cross-border roads and railways, and to work together to bid for the right to host the Summer Olympics in 2032.

The Republic of Korea president said on Thursday that Kim had expressed his hope to rapidly hold his second summit with US President Donald Trump.

China said it firmly supports the Pyongyang summit and hoped the DPRK and the United States would lose no time in establishing a dialogue to push the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

Spokesperson Geng Shuang told a routine press briefing: “We hope the DPRK and the United States meet each other halfway.”

Moon also backed the rapid resumption of DPRK-US talks, saying conditions were created through the Pyongyang summit to restart the dialogue.

The DPRK called for Moon to broker talks between Pyongyang and Washington, offering to closely cooperate with the ROK for the peninsula’s complete denuclearization, the ROK president said.

Compared to the vague language of their two earlier summits, this time Kim and Moon seem to have agreed on a concrete and ambitious program meant to tackle soaring tensions since last year, said Lyu Chao, director of the Border Study Institute at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences.

It is believed Moon’s Pyongyang visit has been a success, but this success needs to be followed by Washington adjusting its attitude to achieve more lasting progress, Lyu said. He said history has proved that Pyongyang-Washington ties have a decisive effect on inter-Korean relations. In this sense, Seoul needs to continue to focus on lobbying Washington to make more concessions, he added.

Ready to transform

On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington was ready to transform its relations with Pyongyang immediately.

In a statement regarding the outcomes of the Moon-Kim summit, Pompeo said that “the United States congratulates President Moon Jae-in and Chairman Kim Jong-un on the successful outcome of their summit meeting in Pyongyang”.

“We welcome President Moon and Chairman Kim’s reaffirmation of the Singapore joint statement of complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” he said. “On the basis of these important commitments, the United States is prepared to engage immediately in negotiations to transform US-DPRK relations.”

Pompeo said he had invited his DPRK counterpart Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho to meet in New York City next week, where the two are scheduled to attend the United Nations General Assembly meeting.

“Likewise, we have invited North Korean (the DPRK) representatives to meet our Special Representative for North Korea, Stephen Biegun, in Vienna, Austria at the earliest opportunity,” Pompeo added.

This will mark the beginning of negotiations to transform US-DPRK relations through the process of denuclearization of the DPRK and to construct a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula, Pompeo said.

The joint statement between Moon and Kim has also been hailed by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

A statement issued by his spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the secretary-general has called for unity from the international community to support the parties in their endeavors toward sustainable peace, security and complete and verifiable denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula in accordance with relevant Security Council Resolutions.