November 15, 2018 11:55
President Moon Jae-in said Wednesday that he wants to invite North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to the ASEAN-Korea Commemorative Summit Seoul is hosting next year. The summit was launched in 2009 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of relations between South Korea and ASEAN member countries. The second was held in 2014.
Moon made the comments during the ASEAN Summit in Singapore, in response to a suggestion by Indonesian President Joko Widodo. "If the political situation on the Korean Peninsula becomes more peaceful, I will actively consider inviting Chairman Kim," Moon said.
Kim has never attended any international summit.
Moon met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the summit in Singapore.
Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said, "The two leaders discussed their opinions on a comprehensive easing of sanctions" against North Korea.
Moon has previously tried to persuade leaders of France and the U.K., who are also standing members of the UN Security Council, to support easing sanctions against North Korea, but has been rebuffed.
But a transcript of the meeting with Putin distributed by Cheong Wa Dae makes no mention of easing sanctions. It only shows Moon telling Putin, "I expect major progress in the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula following two summits."
Putin said the North Korean leader is interested in visiting Russia and that discussions are under way to make that happen.
Moon travels to Papua New Guinea on Saturday to attend the APEC meetings, where he will sit down face-to-face with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Both China and Russia have been calling for the easing of sanctions against North Korea, but the other three standing members of the UNSC continue to insist on maintaining sanctions until the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the North.
Moon also meets with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday after Pence met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo and vowed to maintain sanctions against North Korea until complete denuclearization is achieved.
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