SEOUL - South Korea's chief presidential security adviser voiced hope that next week's inter-Korean summit will give fresh impetus to denuclearisation talks between Washington and Pyongyang that have recently experienced "temporary difficulty", Yonhap news agency reported.
In his keynote speech at an annual security forum in Seoul, Mr Chung Eui-yong also said that during the summit scheduled in Pyongyang from Sept 18 to Sept 20, the two Koreas will push to reach a comprehensive agreement to build mutual trust and forestall any armed clashes.
The third summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korea leader Kim Jong Un was arranged amid a perceived impasse in US-North Korea negotiations, due apparently to their differences over the sequence of the denuclearisation process.
"While things had been smoothly moving forward, there came a temporary difficulty in the process of denuclearisation consultations between the North and the US," Mr Chung said at the opening ceremony of the Seoul Defense Dialogue hosted by the defence ministry.
"At this meeting (in Pyongyang next week), the two leaders will have deeper and concrete ways for denuclearisation. (We) hope that through such efforts, there will be a fresh momentum again for the North-US dialogue that has recently faced temporary difficulty," he added.
That difficulty is seen as having stemmed from Pyongyang's insistence that Washington first agree to the declaration of a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War and Washington's demand that the communist state take tangible denuclearisation steps, such as making a full declaration of its nuclear and missile stockpiles.
During his speech, Mr Chung also reiterated that during his recent visit to the North, he reconfirmed Mr Kim's avowed commitment to the "complete denuclearisation" of the peninsula, Yonhap reported.
"While saying that his deep trust in President Trump has not changed at all, Chairman Kim expressed his strong will to end the long history of hostility between the North and US, and realise denuclearisation within the first term of President Trump," Mr Chung said.
"It is the first time that a North Korean supreme leader has mentioned a timeline for denuclearisation... Our delegation got the impression that Chairman Kim was trying to actively communicate his resolve to denuclearise to the international community," he added.
Mr Chung also noted that the two Koreas are moving towards an "operational arms control" stage beyond the stage of building bilateral confidence.
"There have been concrete (inter-Korean) consultations over the issue of halting all hostile acts against each other on land, sea and air to fundamentally address the danger of war, and over the issue of establishing a peace zone in the West Sea to prevent armed conflicts and ensure safe fishing activities," he said.
"The two Koreas are making an attempt at virtually an entry level of operational arms control beyond the stage of confidence building," he added.