SINGAPORE – President Moon Jae-in and US Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday stressed the need for cooperation on North Korean issues, and the US requested Moon play a bigger role in aiding communication among concerned parties, Cheong Wa Dae said.
The two met on the sidelines of Association of Southeast Asian Nations-related meetings in Singapore.
|President Moon Jae-in and US Vice President Mike Pence hold a meeting in Singapore on Thursday. Yonhap|
According to Cheong Wa Dae, Pence requested Moon to “communicate closely with North Korea” in relation to the process of arranging the second US-North Korea summit.
At the meeting, which lasted about 35 minutes, the two discussed neither sanctions nor details about the planned summit, Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said.
Going into the meeting, Moon and Pence stressed cooperation between the allies.
“If the second North Korea-US summit is held, I expect major progress in the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and for the peace process,” Moon said, listing recent North Korea-related developments including the US-North Korea summit and the three inter-Korean summits held this year.
The first US-North Korea summit was held in Singapore in June, and a second summit is said to be in the works, with US President Donald Trump hinting that that the meeting could take place early next year.
Moon went on to praise Trump and Pence, saying dialogue with North Korea was made possible through Trump’s “strong leadership and decisiveness.”
“An important (factor) is that Chairman Kim Jong-un also said that (the current situation) would have been impossible without President Trump and expressed his gratitude.”
The South Korean leader also stressed the importance of the alliance with the US, saying “it was the power of the Korea-US alliance that brought North Korea to dialogue.”
Pence, for his part, conveyed Trump’s gratitude for Seoul’s part in the related developments and assessed the progress so far as meaningful.
However Pence added that much work remains, and indirectly reiterated Washington’s position on sanctions against the North.
“But much work remains and I look forward to discussing with you the plans for another summit between the president (Trump) and Chairman Kim and how we can work even more closely together in the days ahead to ensure peace and security on the Korean Peninsula,” Pence said.
On Tuesday, Pence met with Abe in Tokyo, where they agreed on the need to maintain pressure on North Korea — a stance often repeated by Washington in recent weeks.
With the pace at which inter-Korean relations are developing allegedly setting off alarm bells in Washington, US officials are said to have expressed dissatisfaction and concerns.
The US has also urged cooperating nations to continue adhering to the maximum pressure campaign.
By Choi He-suk Korea Herald correspondent (firstname.lastname@example.org)