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Kim seeks second summit with Trump

Seoul,  Thursday

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un wants to complete denuclearisation quickly and is hoping for a second summit with US President Donald Trump soon, the South’s President Moon Jae-in said Thursday after a three-day trip to his neighbour.

“Chairman Kim Jong-un expressed hopes for a second summit with President Trump at an early date,” Moon told reporters on his return to Seoul.

The development came even as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he is ready to restart negotiations with Pyongyang, with the aim of denuclearising North Korea “by 2021”.

Discussions between the two sides had stalled following a broad-strokes agreement made earlier this year.

But this week’s inter-Korean summit saw Kim agreeing to shut a major missile launch site. Moon also gave an unprecedented speech in front of tens of thousands of North Koreans.

Kim and Trump held a historic and high-profile meeting in Singapore in June, where the North’s leader committed to work towards denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, but no details were agreed.

Washington and Pyongyang have subsequently sparred over what that means and how it will be achieved, with the Trump administration consistently referring to the denuclearisation of North Korea specifically.

The process had become deadlocked until Moon’s trip to Pyongyang, where Kim agreed to permanently dismantle a missile testing site.

Kim and Moon on Thursday  embarked on a trip to Mount Paektu which holds a central place in Korean mythology. The volcano is situated at the border between the North and China.

Experts were sceptical but the Trump administration immediately welcomed the move, with Pompeo inviting his North Korean counterpart to meet next week on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

Kim also hoped Pompeo would soon visit the North again, Moon said, and was seeking “fast progress in denuclearisation”. -AFP and BBC

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