South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday raised the possibility of a three-way summit among the two Koreas and the United States, “depending on the outcomes” of a North Korea-U.S. summit following a South-North Korea summit in late April. His remarks suggest that South Korean and the United States will seek to reach an agreement with North Korea on its denuclearization at the upcoming summits, before the leaders of the all the three parties sit together to discuss lifting sanctions and starting economic exchanges, including North Korea-U.S. trade and the normalization of the suspended inter-Korean industrial complex in Kaesong.
“Settlement of peace on the Korean Peninsula is not something that can be realized only through an agreement between the South and the North,” he said while attending a meeting of Seoul’s preparation committee for the upcoming inter-Korean dialogue, held at his office Cheong Wa Dae. “It requires a U.S. guarantee, and that would require normalization of the North-U.S. relationship or even economic cooperation between the two.”
The key part of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s demand in return for Pyongyang’s nuclear abandonment involves economic matters. President Moon’s remarks are viewed as a signal to Pyongyang that he will persuade the United States to help resolve the North’s economic difficulties and that in return, he wants Kim Jong Un to make active moves for denuclearization at the upcoming summits.
“We must institutionalize what is agreed upon at the South-North Korean summit,” Cheong Wa Dae quoted Moon as saying at the preparation committee. The president also instructed the committee to prepare to seek the National Assembly’s ratification so that “what is agreed will continue to be pursued even if there should be a change in political conditions.”
The preparation committee plans to propose holding high-level dialogue with North Korea at the joint security area of Panmunjom next Thursday to discuss details of the upcoming inter-Korean summit, according to the Cheong Wa Dae spokesman. Cheong Wa Dae plans to conclude the summit schedule at the proposed meeting.
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