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Korean leaders' summit raises hope of peace deal.

Byline: ERIC TALMADGE AND FOSTER KLUG newsdesk@walesonline.co.uk

SOUTH Korean President Moon Jae-in has returned home from a three-day summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, saying that Mr Kim wants the US secretary of state to visit Pyongyang soon for nuclear talks.

Mr Kim also hopes for a quick follow-up to his June summit with Donald Trump and that a formal end to the Korean War can be agreed, his southern counterpart revealed.

Mr Moon told reporters in Seoul that he will carry a private message from Mr Kim for Mr Trump on the nuclear standoff when he meets with the US president in New York next week on the sidelines of the UN general assembly session.

Both Mr Trump, who has repeatedly spoken of his good relationship with Kim, and the North Korean leader have expressed a desire to meet again, but there are worries among observers about whether Mr Kim is as committed to denuclearisation as he claims.

Mr Moon faces increasing pressure from Washington to find a path forward in efforts to get Mr Kim to completely, and unilaterally, abandon his nuclear arsenal. "There are things that the United States wants us to convey to North Korea, and on the other side there are also things that North Korea wants us to convey to the United States," Mr Moon said at a press centre in Seoul.

"I will faithfully serve that role when I meet President Trump to facilitate dialogue between North Korea and the United States."

Mr Moon, who set up the June summit in Singapore between Mr Trump and Mr Kim and is eager for another to happen, also told reporters that he will convey to Mr Trump his and Mr Kim's desire to get a declaration on ending the Korean War by the end of this year. The war still technically continues as it ended with a ceasefire, not a peace treaty.

Such a declaration would be the first step toward a formal peace treaty, but many in the United States fear it could result in Mr Kim pushing for the removal of US troops stationed in South Korea to deter the North.

Earlier yesterday, on the final day of their summit, Mr Kim and Mr Moon hiked to the peak of Mount Paektu, considered sacred in the North, their hands clasped and raised in a pose of triumph.

Their trip to the mountain on the North Korean-Chinese border, and the striking photo-op that will resonate in both Koreas, followed a day of wide-ranging agreements on Wednesday they trumpeted as a major step toward peace.

However, their premier accord on the issue that most worries the world, the North's pursuit of nucleartipped missiles capable of striking as far as the US mainland, contained a big condition - Kim stated that he would permanently dismantle North Korea's main nuclear facility only if the United States takes unspecified corresponding measures.

> South Korean President Moon Jae-in, right, talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the Samjiyon guesthouse in North Korea yesterday

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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:9SOUT
Date:Sep 21, 2018
Words:509
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