SEOUL — South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Sunday that Kim Jong Un expressed a firm commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and that the North Korean leader still wants to meet with President Trump.
Moon briefed reporters on his surprise Saturday meeting with Kim, which took place on the North Korean side of the Panmunjom border village inside the Demilitarized Zone that divides the peninsula.
In what Moon described as a “candid, heart-to-heart conversation,” he said Kim “made clear once again his intentions to completely denuclearize the Korean Peninsula,” and expressed a willingness “to put an end to the history of war and confrontation through the success of the North Korea-United States summit.”
Meanwhile, an American delegation met with North Koreans officials Sunday in the DMZ, as planning seemed to move ahead for the Trump-Kim summit.
Saturday's unannounced meeting between the two Korean leaders came a month after their first summit, held April 27 on the South Korean side of Panmunjom.
Moon said Kim on Friday had requested to meet him “without any formality,” and the casual nature of the second meeting was “like a normal routine between friends.”
The meeting seemed to push momentum toward a summit between Trump and Kim to take place, which would be the first time a sitting U.S. president would meet with a North Korean leader.
Trump on Thursday abruptly called off the meeting, which was scheduled for June 12 in Singapore, with a letter to Kim citing the “tremendous anger and open hostility” of recent communications from Pyongyang.
Trump changed course less than 24 hours later, tweeting on Friday that Washington was having “very productive talks" with North Korea about reinstating the summit, possibly on the same date and location.
Trump repeated that position Saturday night. "We're looking at June 12th in Singapore. That hasn't changed," Trump said in the Oval Office as he welcomed freed American Joshua Holt after his release from Venezuela.
Moon said that during his meeting with Kim, he delivered the message that Trump still has “a firm resolve to put an end to hostility against North Korea and work for economic cooperation with the North” if Pyongyang completely denuclearizes.
“I emphasized that it is necessary for the two sides to engage in direct talks to eliminate misunderstandings and have sufficient preliminary, working-level negotiations concerning the agenda that needs to be agreed upon at the summit,” Moon said, adding that Kim agreed.
The South Korean president said the U.S. and North Korea would hold the working-level talks very soon to determine whether the summit would go forward. If the summit is successfully held, Moon said he hoped to follow up with a three-way meeting with the two Koreas and the U.S. to “formally end the (Korean) War.”
The Korean War ceased in 1953 with an armistice but not a peace treaty.
North Korea’s official state news agency also expressed Kim’s desire to meet with Trump. In a statement released Sunday, Kim “expressed his fixed will” to hold the summit with Trump, the Korean Central News Agency said.