Moon adviser says North Korea seeks economic growth

EPA-EFE  JEON HEON-KYUN

The truce village of Panmunjom, located some 60 kilometers north of Seoul is set to greet a very important guest at the end of the month, as North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will take the unprecedented step of crossing the border for the 2018 Inter-Korean summit.

"Even though our special envoys confirmed his denuclearization will, it is entirely different if the two leaders confirm it directly among themselves and put that into text", Im said.

Moon Chung-in said Kim likely believes his country's recent rapid progress in its nuclear and missile programs will force the United States to the negotiating table, after Washington rejected the North's previous offers of dialogue, citing a lack of sincerity.

After sharply raising regional tensions with a series of nuclear and missile tests last year, Kim has been reaching out to Seoul and Washington this year, prompting speculation over why he is doing so just as he appears close to achieving his objective of developing nuclear missiles capable of targeting the US mainland.

According to Rhee Sang Hyong, the major challenge at the forthcoming meetings is a gap in the US' and North Korea's approaches to the problem of denuclearization.

Moon Chung-in said North Korea this time knows it can not reach a breakthrough deal with the United States unless it accepts American calls for complete, verifiable and irrevocable steps toward disarmament.

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"A peace treaty should be signed in the inter-Korean summit so that we can build peace and ensure peaceful coexistence", Mr Do told foreign media.

Any joint statement is not expected to include economic co-operation with the North, Im said. DPRK is the acronym for North Korea's formal name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

But Kim has changed course since the beginning of the year, sending a delegation to the Winter Olympics held in South Korea in February and agreeing to discuss with South Korea and the United States a nuclear program the North has defended as a necessary deterrent against U.S. invasion.

The telephone line could be operational by around Friday, but it is not clear when Moon and Kim would use it the first time, Im said.

No peace treaty has ever been signed to replace the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean war, and the USA and North Korea have been at loggerheads since formal hostilities ended. The United States stations 28,500 troops in South Korea as a legacy of the conflict.

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