3-way summit with North, US possible: Moon

South Korean President Moon Jae In, who is set to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un next month, speaking in Seoul yesterday at a preparatory meeting for the inter-Korean summit. The South Korean leader said that the aim of talks should be a "compl
South Korean President Moon Jae In, who is set to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un next month, speaking in Seoul yesterday at a preparatory meeting for the inter-Korean summit. The South Korean leader said that the aim of talks should be a "complete end" to the nuclear and peace issues on the Korean peninsula.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

SEOUL • South Korean President Moon Jae In has said a three-way summit with North Korea and the US is possible and that talks should aim for an end to the nuclear threat on the Korean peninsula, as delegates from the three countries meet in Finland for informal talks.

Mr Moon is planning a meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un next month after a flurry of diplomatic activity in Asia, Europe and the United States.

US President Donald Trump has also said he would meet Mr Kim by the end of May.

"A North Korea-US summit would be a historic event in itself following an inter-Korean summit," Mr Moon said at the presidential Blue House in Seoul yesterday, after a preparatory meeting for the inter-Korean summit.

"Depending on the location, it could be even more dramatic. And depending on progress, it may lead to a three-way summit between the South, North and the United States," he added.

Mr Choe Kang Il, deputy director-general for North American affairs at North Korea's Foreign Ministry, was in Finland earlier this week along with 18 representatives from Pyongyang, Seoul and Washington for informal talks ahead of the possible US-North Korean summit.

The Finnish Foreign Ministry described the two-day talks which ended yesterday as "constructive".

Seoul officials are considering the border truce village of Panmunjom - where Mr Moon and Mr Kim are set to meet for a one-day meeting - as the venue for talks, which could be a three-way meeting, and not just between Mr Kim and Mr Moon.

A Blue House official, who was speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Mr Moon did not specifically refer to Panmunjom or that a three-way summit had been discussed with Washington before the President spoke.

South Korea wants to hold high-level talks with North Korea on March 29 to discuss a date and agenda for the inter-Korean summit and make a formal request to the North today, said Mr Moon's presidential office.

Mr Moon said the series of summits should aim for a "complete end" to the nuclear and peace issues on the Korean peninsula.

He said he has a "clear goal and vision", which is for the establishment of a lasting peace to replace the ceasefire signed at the end of the 1950-53 Korean war.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 22, 2018, with the headline '3-way summit with North, US possible: Moon'. Print Edition | Subscribe