South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Thursday that inter-Korean relations cannot improve without an agreement between North Korea and the United States on the North’s denuclearization, Korea Times reported.
In a lunch meeting with an advisory group composed of 21 members engaged in inter-Korean issues, Moon said although a reconciliatory mood has been created along with the upcoming summit with his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong-un, the current situation is more serious and complicated than the circumstances of previous inter-Korean summits.
The group of mostly former officials played roles in holding the first and second summits in 2000 and 2007, respectively. They were selected to advise the government for the Moon-Kim summit slated for 27 April.
Moon said that there had been many valuable inter-Korean agreements from the 4 July Joint Communique in 1972 to the Inter-Korean Basic Agreement in 1991, and two summits with their joint declarations.
“These past experience and achievements have helped the two Koreas agree on the upcoming summit,” he said. “However, the current situation is more serious than ever. Amid ruptured inter-Korean relations for the past 10 years, military tension has reached a peak, and the North’s nuclear weapons and missiles have been developed to a level that threatens the U.S.”
In this situation where the U.S. and North Korea have exchanged military threats, and international sanctions have been imposed on Pyongyang, he said it is difficult for the two Koreas to resolve inter-Korean issues by themselves.
South Korea and the US are aggressively preparing for the upcoming summits to be held between the two Koreas on 27 April and between US-North Korea in May end or early June. To map out a picture of the denuclearization of North Korea ahead of scheduled summits and to address this issue, South Korea’s National Security Office chief Chung Eui-yong held detailed discussions with his new US counterpart John Bolton in Washington D.C., Thursday.
Chung and Bolton are expected to open a communication channel as their countries prepare for the summits with North Korea.
Meanwhile, Mike Pompeo, the nominee for Secretary of State said during his Senate confirmation hearing on Thursday that the United States will not reward North Korea before the regime “permanently, irreversibly” dismantles its nuclear weapons program.
Pompeo said that the Trump administration does not plan to repeat the failures of past negotiations that provided Pyongyang with economic aid before its nuclear program was undone.
Pompeo is known to be leading preparatory talks with Pyongyang ahead of a summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in May or June.