President Moon Jae-in on Sunday said that normalization of US-North Korea relations and the North’s denuclearization should be carried out simultaneously, and stressed the close cooperation between Seoul and Washington.
Speaking at the joint press conference that follow his summit with US President Donald Trump in Seoul, Moon said that the two countries are in sync on North Korean issues, and that the Korea-US alliance will be expanded beyond boundaries of national security.
President Moon Jae-in and US President Donald Trump hold a joint press conference at Cheong Wa Dae on Sunday. Yonhap
“Today, President Trump and I again confirmed that the two countries’ position on denuclearization is identical, and (the two countries) have the same target,” Moon said.
The Moon administration has been under increasing fire from the country’s conservatives over its North Korean and foreign policies, with the main opposition Liberty Korea Party accusing Moon of having different goals from the US.
“In particular, (we) shared the view that simultaneous, parallel execution of complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the Singapore agreement that aims at normalization of North-US relations is very important.”
The US-North Korea agreement signed at the first summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore states that the two sides will establish “new US-North Korea relations” and participate in efforts to establish peace on the Korean Peninsula.
At the press conference, Moon lauded Trump’s role in North Korean issues, referring to him as the “protagonist of Korean Peninsula peace process, and peace maker of the Korean Peninsula.”
As for Trump, the US leader touted his relationship with Kim and related developments since he took office, while again reiterating that he is in “no rush” regarding North Korea.
Saying the North refused to engage the US before him, despite the previous Barack Obama administration “begging for meetings constantly,” Trump said he and Kim have a “certain chemistry” and the North has shown positive changes since his inauguration. He added that had he not been elected, the US would be at war with North Korea.
“But I’m in no rush. The sanctions are on. I’m in no rush. I’m in no rush with Iran. I’m never in a rush. If you are in a rush, you get yourself in trouble,” Trump said.
Trump also rejected the idea that his second meeting with Kim had been a failure, saying that developments from the meeting are “part of the whole negotiation.”
The second US-North Korea summit was held in February in Hanoi but ended without any agreement, with Trump later revealing the North had effectively asked for full sanctions relief in return for a part of its nuclear program.
“I think frankly the meeting in Vietnam in terms of a deal was more important than Singapore,” Trump said.
Aside from North Korea, Moon and Trump said that they discussed a range of issue including trade and military matters.
“It was agreed that the momentum of expanding trade, investment will be accelerated to expand and develop the Korea-US alliance into a reciprocal economic alliance,” Moon said.
Moon went on to say that Seoul and Washington will maintain close cooperation in international issues, including developments in the Middle East. He also said that the two sides agreed to cooperate on South Korea’s New Southern Policy and the Indo-Pacific Strategy of the US.
By Choi He-suk (email@example.com)