Kim reiterates his willingness to meet Trump

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (left) and South Korean President Moon Jae In exchanging handshakes after their summit on the North’s side of the truce village of Panmunjom last Saturday. Both sides said high-level inter-Korea talks have been sched
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (left) and South Korean President Moon Jae In exchanging handshakes after their summit on the North’s side of the truce village of Panmunjom last Saturday. Both sides said high-level inter-Korea talks have been scheduled for Friday, and they would also hold military and Red Cross talks to discuss holding a reunion for families separated by the Korean War. PHOTO: REUTERS
Mr Moon and Mr Kim during their meeting. With Mr Kim is Mr Kim Yong Chol, vice-chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea’s central committee in charge of inter-Korean affairs.
Mr Moon and Mr Kim during their meeting. With Mr Kim is Mr Kim Yong Chol, vice-chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea’s central committee in charge of inter-Korean affairs. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Mr Moon shaking hands with Mr Kim’s sister, Ms Kim Yo Jong, following his meeting with the North Korean leader in Panmunjom.
Mr Moon shaking hands with Mr Kim’s sister, Ms Kim Yo Jong, following his meeting with the North Korean leader in Panmunjom.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Mr Kim Jong Un and Mr Kim Yong Chol waving goodbye to Mr Moon after the summit, which was held on the North Korean side of the truce village.
Mr Kim Jong Un and Mr Kim Yong Chol waving goodbye to Mr Moon after the summit, which was held on the North Korean side of the truce village. PHOTO: REUTERS

But North Korean leader voices fears over security guarantee for regime after denuclearisation

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has reiterated his strong commitment to denuclearisation and his willingness to meet United States President Donald Trump, said South Korean President Moon Jae In.

But the North Korean leader also voiced concern about a security guarantee for his regime, Mr Moon said in a televised speech and press briefing yesterday, a day after a surprise summit with Mr Kim, the second between the two leaders in a month.

During their two-hour meeting held on North Korea's side of the truce village of Panmunjom, Mr Moon said Mr Kim agreed with him on the need to have direct communication with Washington to remove misunderstanding between them, and to have sufficient dialogue ahead of the June 12 summit.

What was uncertain to Mr Kim was US intentions, said Mr Moon.

Mr Trump cancelled the planned summit last Thursday, citing Pyongyang's open hostility. But he has since relented and indicated that the meeting may be back on, after the North issued a conciliatory statement.

"Chairman Kim has firm intentions towards complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and he reiterated it yesterday (Saturday). What he is uncertain about is whether Washington would end its hostile policy and guarantee the security of his regime after denuclearisation," Mr Moon told reporters.

The second Moon-Kim summit was widely reported in North Korean media. State-owned Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said Mr Kim thanked Mr Moon for his efforts towards the June 12 summit, and "expressed his fixed will" about the talks. "Kim Jong Un told Moon Jae In to positively cooperate with each other as ever to improve the (US-North Korea) relations and establish a mechanism for permanent and durable peace," it added.

UNCERTAINTY ABOUT WASHINGTON'S INTENTIONS

Mr Kim has firm intentions towards complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, and he reiterated it yesterday. What he is uncertain about is whether Washington would end its hostile policy and guarantee the security of his regime after denuclearisation.

SOUTH KOREAN PRESIDENT MOON JAE IN, recounting what was said during his two-hour meeting with Mr Kim Jong Un.

Mr Moon, on his part, called for the opening of a hotline between Mr Kim and Mr Trump.

The South Korean leader also voiced hope for holding a trilateral meeting after the Trump-Kim summit in Singapore to discuss a formal end to the Korean War. The war was halted in 1953 by the signing of an armistice, which was never replaced by a peace treaty.

The two Korean leaders also "reconfirmed the need to accelerate the implementation" of the Panmunjom Declaration, which was issued after their first historic summit on April 27, aimed at establishing a new era of peace and collaboration.

Both sides said high-level inter-Korea talks have been scheduled for Friday, and they would also hold military and Red Cross talks to discuss holding a reunion for families separated by the war.

The two leaders also agreed to "meet frequently in the future to make dialogue brisk and pool wisdom and efforts, expressing their stand to make joint efforts for the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula", KCNA reported.

Mr Moon said their second meeting was held following Mr Kim's request last Friday - hours after Mr Trump issued the notice to cancel the June 12 summit. The South Korean leader said he readily accepted the meeting, describing it as one between friends. He said they had a "candid, heart-to-heart conversation", after which they hugged three times before parting ways.

Analysts said the fact that it was Mr Kim who asked for the meeting pointed to his eagerness to meet Mr Trump, and his reliance on Mr Moon as the mediator.

Dr Cheong Seong Chang of the Sejong Institute think-tank said Mr Kim's fast and flexible response "underscores the high stakes he has placed on having the US-North Korea summit".

Kyung Hee University's Professor Song Se Ryun said the second Moon-Kim summit sent a "pretty big signalling effect to the US that Mr Kim is very willing and very eager to meet with President Trump".

"What falls short is the details about complete denuclearisation... The question still remains, the exact hows and what exactly North Korea wants," he said on Arirang TV.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 28, 2018, with the headline 'Kim reiterates his willingness to meet Trump'. Print Edition | Subscribe