FILE PHOTO: South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shake hands at the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, South Korea, April 27, 2018. Korea Summit Press Pool/Pool via Reuters
SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said he wants to hold more summits with South Korea’s Moon Jae-in next year to achieve the goal of denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, Moon’s office said on Sunday.
Kim sent a letter to Moon on Sunday to commemorate the dramatic detente they engineered this year, including three summits, after years of confrontation marked by a series of the North’s nuclear and missile tests.
But stalled nuclear talks between Pyongyang and Washington had an impact on inter-Korean ties, with the South’s plan to host Kim in Seoul this year – as agreed at his summit with President Moon Jae-in in Pyongyang in September – going unanswered by the North.
Kim vowed to work towards denuclearization at his landmark summit with U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore in June but the two sides have since made little progress, struggling to reschedule a high-level meeting abruptly called off in November.
Kim said in the letter that he was sorry his visit to Seoul did not take place, expressing his “strong resolve” to make it happen in the future while monitoring the situation, Moon’s office said.
“Chairman Kim said he is willing to meet often with President Moon next year to move forward discussions on peace and prosperity and resolve the issue of denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,” Moon’s spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said in a statement.
Reporting by Hyonhee Shin; Editing by Christopher Cushing