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Moon hopes to go trekking with North Korea's Kim Jong Un

By Wooyoung Lee
Moon hopes to go trekking with North Korea's Kim Jong Un
South Korean President Moon Jae-in speaks with reporters Sunday after climbing Mount Bukak, behind the presidential office in Seoul. Photo by Yonhap

SEOUL, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in, an avid hiker, hopes to go trekking with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on a southernmost mountain of South Korea when he makes a reciprocal visit to the South.

"There is a saying in Korean 'From Paektu to Halla.' If chairman Kim wants, I want to show him around Mount Halla," Moon said Sunday to reporters on a hiking trip to a mountain, located behind the presidential office, South Korean media reported.

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In September, Moon and Kim made a surprise visit to Mount Paektu, located on the border between North Korea and China, during the summit in Pyongyang.

They went to the peak of Mount Paektu, a dream trip for Moon, on the final day of his meetings with Kim. They reached the top of the mountain by a cable car and walked around the large crater lake. Moon also announced at the summit that he will invite Kim to South Korea in "near future."

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Moon pledged to maintain the momentum for peace and the denuclearization process after his summit with Kim last month. Moon has been playing a role of facilitator that mediates differences between the U.S. and North Korean on denuclearizing North Korea. Nuclear talks between the U.S and North Korea resumed following the Moon-Kim summit in Pyongyang.

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"There are many things to do to sustain the momentum for the peace process. Meanwhile, we need to make efforts with North Korea and with the U.S.," he said.

Stephen Biegun, a U.S. special representative for North Korea, visited Seoul to hold talks with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and his counterpart and Seoul's top nuclear envoy Lee Do-hoon on Monday, according to Seoul's Foreign Ministry.

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Biegun said that the U.S. and South Korea share a goal of reaching final, fully verified denuclearization and bringing an end to the war and hostility on the Korean Peninsula.

Biegun, who was seen holding a map of North Korea, added that he feels confident in achieving the goal to which the U.S. and South Korea are committed.

Lee said the denuclearization process is at a critical juncture and the U.S. and South Korea should meet as often as possible.

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South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha raised hopes that renewed denuclearization talks after the Pyongyang summit, and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit to North Korea should lead to denuclearization of North Korea and permanent peace in the region.

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