SEOUL - South Korean President Moon Jae In and US President Donald Trump held a telephone conversation on Monday (June 11), Mr Moon's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said.
The unexpected telephone conversation, which lasted 40 minutes starting at 3.30pm Singapore time, was made on the eve of a historic summit between Mr Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore.
Mr Moon had earlier on Monday expressed hope for the success of the summit, but said it will only mark the start of what is likely to be a years-long process of denuclearising North Korea.
"The deep-rooted hostile relationship and the North Korean nuclear issue cannot be resolved in one single action in a meeting between leaders. Even after the two leaders open the dialogue, we will need a long process that may take one year, two years or even longer to completely resolve the issues," Mr Moon said in a weekly meeting with his top aides held at his office, Cheong Wa Dae, Yonhap news agency reported.
"I stress the fact that we need sincere efforts by the South, the North and the United States and the continuous cooperation of other related countries until we complete that process," he told the meeting, according to Cheong Wa Dae pool reports cited by Yonhap.
The South Korean President, who brokered the historic, first-ever meeting scheduled for Tuesday between a sitting US president and the North Korean leader, said he had every confidence the summit will be a success.
"President Trump has demonstrated his strong will to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue and establish peace on the Korean Peninsula through his practical actions. Chairman Kim Jong Un, on the other hand, has shown his efforts for the success of the summit and his willingness to denuclearise through bold preemptive measures, including the dismantlement of the Punggye-ri nuclear test site," Mr Moon said.
"I have both expectations and hopes that tomorrow's summit will be a success."
He maintains, however, that the efforts of the US and North Korea alone may be not enough to finally rid the North of its nuclear weapons.
"We cannot only rely on the North Korea-US dialogue for the resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue and the end to the hostile relationship between the two. We must also successfully develop the South-North Korean relationship at the same time," Mr Moon was quoted as saying.
The President insisted an improvement in inter-Korea relations will lead to an improvement in North Korea-US ties, which in turn will help further develop South-North Korea relations.
"To this end, I ask the people to send their continued support for South-North Korean dialogue, including the military, Red Cross and sports talks that will begin this week," he said.
"Our government has successfully created the current situation despite many difficulties. It will continue to do its utmost until the Korean Peninsula is completely denuclearised and a permanent peace regime is established," Mr Moon said.
The South Korean leader said that if the summit is successful, "it will be a great gift for not only the world but also President Trump's birthday on June 14".