September 20, 2018 12:30
National security adviser Chung Eui-yong on Wednesday tried to dispel the impression that the latest inter-Korean summit produced little but hot air.
"Broad discussions were held in addition to what was included in the joint declaration" announced by President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang the same day, Chung claimed in a meeting with reporters.
He appeared to be hinting that the two leaders discussed denuclearization steps in addition to the closure of a missile test site that has already taken place but was touted as an achievement of the summit.
"This will make possible in-depth discussions between the leaders of [South] Korea and the U.S. to be held during talks in New York early next week," Chung added. "We expect to see denuclearization talks between the U.S. and North Korea gain more speed and hope that a U.S.-North Korea summit would be held in the near future."
Indeed, U.S. President Donald Trump, who has been criticized for his failure to win any binding commitment from Kim, hailed "tremendous progress" in a tweet after the press conference. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also said Washington is ready to restart negotiations "immediately."
Both seemed to be putting the most optimistic spin on Moon and Kim's declared intent to "cooperate closely in the process of pursuing complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."
Moon Chung-in, a special security adviser to the president, told reporters in Pyongyang, "There will be a message from Kim that was not included in the joint declaration. President Moon will directly deliver that message to President Trump in New York. I believe Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to Pyongyang very soon."
Pompeo said he invited his North Korean counterpart, Ri Yong-ho, to New York instead for talks with the U.S. special envoy for North Korea in Austria "at the earliest opportunity."
President Moon heads to New York to attend the UN General Assembly following his trip to Pyongyang and meets Trump on Monday.
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com