• Tuesday, Feb 19, 2019
  • Last Update : 01:22 am

Two Koreas to hold summit as Kim renews denuclearization pledge

  • Published at 08:52 am September 6th, 2018
Korea summit
Dates for the third Kim-Moon summit were finalized during a visit by a top Seoul envoy to PyongyangAFP

The upcoming summit between Kim and Moon may help break the months-long deadlock after the Singapore summit

The leaders of the two Koreas will hold a summit in Pyongyang in September, Seoul said on Thursday, as Kim Jong Un renewed his commitment to the denuclearization of the flashpoint peninsula.

The announcement of the September 18-20 summit - the third between the North's leader Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in this year - comes as US efforts to dismantle Pyongyang's nuclear arsenal have stalled.

The two leaders will meet in the North Korean capital to discuss "practical measures to denuclearize" the peninsula, South Korean National Security Advisor Chung Eui-yong told reporters.

Chung on Wednesday flew to Pyongyang where he handed over a personal letter from Moon to Kim, as Seoul seeks to kick-start the diplomacy that led to the landmark June summit between US President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader.

The two pledged to denuclearize the Korean peninsula at the Singapore meeting but no details were agreed, and Washington and Pyongyang have sparred since on what that means and how it will be achieved.

However, in his meeting with Chung, Kim renewed his commitment to that goal, North Korean state media said on Thursday.

The two Koreas "should further their efforts to realise the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula," Kim was quoted as saying by KCNA.

"It is our fixed stand... to completely remove the danger of armed conflict and horror of war from the Korean peninsula and turn it into the cradle of peace without nuclear weapons and free from nuclear threat."

Moon, who brokered the historic summit between Kim and Trump in Singapore, said he had "high hopes" for his next meeting with the North's leader to achieve a similar feat.

"I have come to hope that it will kick-start dialogue between the US and North Korea for the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula," Moon said during meeting with his aides.

'Litmus test'

The upcoming summit between Kim and Moon may help break the months-long deadlock after the Singapore summit, said Lim Eul-chul, professor at Kyungnam University's Graduate School of North Korean Studies.

"There is a still big gap between what the North considers sufficient goodwill gestures, like destroying its missile test stand or a nuclear test site, and what the US wants, including on-site verification by experts," he said.

Narrowing the gap and rebuilding trust between Kim and Trump is key in the dialogue - if any - ahead, he said.

North Korea has demanded that Washington agree to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War, and accused it of failing to reciprocate "goodwill measures."

But US officials and conservatives in the South are concerned such a declaration would weaken the US-South Korea alliance and deprive the 28,000 US forces stationed on the peninsula of their deployment rationale.

Kim dismissed such worries, Chung said, and told the South Korean delegation that a formal end of the Korean War would not be linked to the withdrawal of the US troops.

Professor Yang Moo-jin of the University of North Korean Studies said Kim sees the US agreeing to a formal end to the war as a "litmus test" to determine whether Washington is sincere in moving forward.

"But the US... does not seem to be ready to accept the North's demand", he told AFP.