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South Korea's Moon: North Korea seems willing to denuclearize

By Jennie Oh
South Korean President Moon Jae-in (R) talks with the heads of the nation's leading news organizations on Thursday. Photo by Yonhap
South Korean President Moon Jae-in (R) talks with the heads of the nation's leading news organizations on Thursday. Photo by Yonhap

SEOUL, April 19 (UPI) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Thursday North Korea is on the same page on "full denuclearization" and isn't making unreasonable demands.

During a luncheon with executives of local media, Moon expressed optimism on the North's attitude ahead of the inter-Korean summit on April 27 and the subsequent meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

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Moon said his meeting with Kim must become a milestone for "denuclearization, the building of a permanent peace regime and the sustainable development of cross-border ties."

He said a peace treaty must be concluded to end the 65 years of armistice between the two sides. The two Koreas technically remain at war, as the 1950-53 Korean War did not end with a peace treaty.

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Moon added that dialogue must also pave the way for a successful summit between the United States and the North on denuclearization, the Financial News reported.

Addressing concern that the North may try to hold onto its nuclear program, Moon said the regime is on the same page when it comes to the concept of denuclearization.

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"It is currently showing its willingness for full denuclearization to the international community," he said.

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He added that the North "is not presenting conditions that the United States cannot accept" such as the withdrawal of U.S. troops.

"It is rather just asking for a security guarantee of the regime and the end of hostile [U.S.] policies against North Korea," he said.

Moon said the North has been able to confirm these conditions, which is why it is willing to talk with Washington.

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He said, following denuclearization, the establishment of a peace regime, or the normalization of U.S.-North Korea ties, it wouldn't be very difficult to reach a "theoretical agreement" on supporting the economic development of the North, with cooperation from the international community.

Separately on Thursday, the Unification Ministry released a guide on peace-related terms concerning North Korea.

The framework of procedures, rules, regulations and systems that restore or maintain peace would aim to defuse points of political, economic and military tensions and allow the peaceful co-existence of South and North Korea.

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