In Rare Move, North Korean State Media Acknowledges Denuclearization Pledged At Inter-Korean Summit

Trump says North Korean meeting could happen in three to four weeks
April 28, 2018 Updated: April 29, 2018

SEOUL—North Korea’s state news agency on Saturday called the inter-Korean summit a turning point for the Korean peninsula, while U.S. President Donald Trump said he would maintain sanctions pressure on Pyongyang ahead of his own unprecedented meeting with Kim Jong Un.

The North’s KCNA news agency separately released the joint statement North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in presented on Friday after the first summit in more than a decade between the two Koreas.

Kim and Moon pledged to work for “complete denuclearization” of the Korean peninsula and agreed on a common goal of a “nuclear-free” peninsula. Most of the specific commitments outlined in the official declaration focused on inter-Korean relations.

A day after the meeting between Kim and Moon produced dramatic images and a sweeping declaration of goodwill, South Korean media were replaying striking scenes of the two leaders and North Korea’s main state newspaper published a multi-page spread with more than 60 photos from the visit.

On Saturday afternoon, North Korean state TV broadcast its first footage of the summit and made mentions of the denuclearization discussion — a significant acknowledgement — although it did not go into specifics, opting to continue to highlight the standard broad themes of peace, prosperity, and Korean unity.

The declaration earned guarded but optimistic praise from world leaders, including Trump, who said on Friday that only time would tell, but that he did not think Kim was “playing.”

“It’s never gone this far. This enthusiasm for them wanting to make a deal … We are going to hopefully make a deal.”

Trump told reporters he would maintain pressure on North Korea and “not repeat the mistakes of past administrations.”

On Saturday, Trump said on Twitter that he “just had a long and very good talk with President Moon of South Korea. Things are going very well, time and location of meeting with North Korea is being set.”

Later at a campaign rally in Washington, Michigan, he said, “I think we will have a meeting over the next three or four weeks. It’s going be a very important meeting, the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

Trump added that he had also spoken with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to inform him of ongoing negotiations.

The White House later said Trump and Moon during the call “emphasized that a peaceful and prosperous future for North Korea is contingent upon its complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization.”

The White House also said Trump had informed Abe that he would “urge North Korea to promptly resolve its abductions of Japanese citizens.”

A senior U.S. official said Singapore is being considered as a possible venue for the Trump-Kim summit.

Speaking on Saturday at a televised news conference in Sydney, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull praised Trump’s negotiations on North Korea and said he helped bring the two Korean leaders together.

“I have given him that credit because Donald Trump has taken a very, very strong, hard line on the denuclearization issue and he has been able to bring in the support of the global community and, in particular, China,” Turnbull said. “North Korea’s economic relationship is overwhelmingly with China. And so China’s preparedness to impose those sanctions has been the critical change that has put the economic pressure on North Korea.”

“What we’ve now got to do is not relent on the economic pressure until that goal is achieved,” he said.

Australia will send a military aircraft to monitor North Korean vessels suspected of transferring illicit goods in defiance of U.N. sanctions, he said.

By Josh Smith

 

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