Inter-Korea summit

Denuclearisation the real test of talks: World leaders

South Korean President Moon Jae In and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un having a private chat on a footbridge in the truce village of Panmunjom yesterday. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae In planting a commemorative
South Korean President Moon Jae In and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un having a private chat on a footbridge in the truce village of Panmunjom yesterday. PHOTO: REUTERS,
South Korean President Moon Jae In and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un having a private chat on a footbridge in the truce village of Panmunjom yesterday. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae In planting a commemorative
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae In planting a commemorative tree yesterday in Panmunjom, within the Demilitarised Zone separating the two Koreas. PHOTO: REUTERS
South Korean President Moon Jae In and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un having a private chat on a footbridge in the truce village of Panmunjom yesterday. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae In planting a commemorative
Mr Kim and Mr Moon embracing after signing a statement in which the leaders of the two Koreas declared that ''there will be no more war on the Korean peninsula''. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
South Korean President Moon Jae In and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un having a private chat on a footbridge in the truce village of Panmunjom yesterday. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae In planting a commemorative
Mr Kim and his wife Ri Sol Ju exchanging toasts with Mr Moon and his wife Kim Jung Sook during the official dinner in Panmunjom yesterday. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

They strike a note of caution as the two Korean leaders declare success of summit

World leaders welcomed the historic meeting between the two Koreas yesterday but spelt out that denuclearisation must be the end goal of this landmark summit that has taken 65 years to materialise.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was most unequivocal on this position. "What's important is that this leads to complete, verifiable denuclearisation," he told reporters yesterday. "I want to emphasise this."

Even as South Korean President Moon Jae In and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un drummed up the success of the summit, their counterparts around the world showed less enthusiasm.

United States President Donald Trump, who is slated to hold a high-stakes meeting with Mr Kim by early June, said yesterday in a tweet: "After a furious year of missile launches and nuclear testing, a historic meeting between North and South Korea is now taking place. Good things are happening, but only time will tell!"

He later tweeted again, tipping his hat to Chinese President Xi Jinping, whom Mr Kim had secretly visited on his first official overseas outing last month.

"Please do not forget the great help that my good friend, President Xi of China, has given to the United States, particularly at the border of North Korea. Without him it would have been a much longer, tougher process!"

PROUD MOMENT

The United States, and all of its GREAT people, should be very proud of what is now taking place in Korea! ''

UNITED STATES PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, in a tweet.


KEEP UP THE MOMENTUM

China hopes all relevant sides can maintain the momentum for dialogue and work together to promote the denuclearisation of the peninsula and the process for the political settlement of the peninsula issue. China is willing to continue playing a proactive role. ''

CHINA'S FOREIGN MINISTRY


CALL FOR CONCRETE ACTION

We strongly hope that North Korea will take concrete action through this meeting and a summit between the US and North Korea.

JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER SHINZO ABE

China has been the North's main ally for years, although it has increasingly been standing on the side of United Nations sanctions against Mr Kim's regime over his missile tests, which have hit the reclusive nation hard.

China "hopes all relevant sides can maintain the momentum for dialogue and work together to promote the denuclearisation of the peninsula and the process for the political settlement of the peninsula issue", its Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding that it was "willing to continue playing a proactive role in this regard".

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying said at a regular press briefing yesterday: "China sincerely hopes that this historic meeting can achieve positive results. There is a poem in China that says, 'We remain brothers after all the vicissitudes, a smile is all that is needed to obliterate any enmity'."

Asean's foreign ministers, who were gathered in Singapore for the Asean Summit, also sounded a similar note.

In a statement, they said: "The ministers are encouraged by these positive developments and urge all concerned parties to work towards reducing tensions, and the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula which will contribute to the peace and stability of the region."

Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg called the meeting a "first step" and "encouraging", but cautioned that "there is still a lot of hard work that lies ahead of us".

Likewise, Britain, Australia and the European Union were wary, saying that the world needed to see evidence that Mr Kim was putting down his nuclear arms for good.

"I welcome the announcement that the two Koreas will work towards the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation of North Korea, improve bilateral ties and reduce border tensions," said British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson in a statement.

"This historic summit is not the end in itself... The United Kingdom will continue to work with our international partners to strictly enforce existing sanctions until such time that North Korea turns its commitments into concrete steps towards denuclearisation."

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull yesterday said he "welcomed, with caution" the meetings and remarks made by Mr Kim. "This will be the beginning of steps that lead to denuclearisation of the peninsula. That's everybody's goal."

The European Union's foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini called Pyongyang's move a positive step and urged an "irreversible denuclearisation" of the country.

"This is very positive news," said Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman to reporters.

"Today we see that this direct dialogue has taken place (and) it has certain prospects," Mr Dmitry Peskov said.

"The will to seek agreement can be seen on both sides, including the most important thing - the will to begin and continue dialogue. That is a positive fact," he said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 28, 2018, with the headline 'Denuclearisation the real test of talks: World leaders'. Print Edition | Subscribe