Australian leaders cautiously welcome inter-Korea summit

"This will be the beginning of steps that lead to denuclearisation of the peninsula. That's everybody's goal," said Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
"This will be the beginning of steps that lead to denuclearisation of the peninsula. That's everybody's goal," said Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

CANBERRA (XINHUA) - Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Friday (April 27) cautiously welcomed talks between South Korea President Moon Jae In and North Korea leader Kim Jong Un, praising them for entering into negotiation.

"We welcome, with caution, these meetings and the remarks that have been made by Kim Jong Un," Mr Turnbull told reporters. "This will be the beginning of steps that lead to denuclearisation of the peninsula. That's everybody's goal."

Mr Kim on Friday became the first North Korea leader to cross the border into the south since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.

Earlier on Friday, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop held a press conference to mark the occasion.

"It is the first time in 65 years that a leader from North Korea has crossed the border into South Korea. And it is the first time in over 10 years that the leaders of North and South Korea have met," Ms Bishop said.

"We see this as an opportunity for North Korea to demonstrate verifiable steps that it will take to denuclearisation," she noted. "We await with anticipation the outcome of these talks."

The two leaders were expected to discuss denuclearisation and securing peace on the Korean Peninsula ahead of everything else.

 
 

Ms Bishop said she had a conversation with her South Korean counterpart Kang Kyung Wha earlier this week, with the latter reassuring Ms Bishop that denuclearisation will be on the table of the summit.

Ms Bishop also said that she had a phone conversation earlier on Friday with newly sworn-in US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Inter-Korea talks were part of their conversation.

Mr Kim has already committed to suspending his country's nuclear and long-range missile tests as well as dismantling the country's only known nuclear test site.