Ban Ki-moon urges N Korea to take denuclearization steps

North Korea subject of talks between Sth Korean President and PM Jacinda Ardern in Auckland

New Zealand is active in the monitoring of United Nations sanctions against North Korea, deploying an Air Force P-3K2 plane to patrol worldwide waters in North Asia for signs of vessels undertaking activities such as ship-to-ship transfers.

Background: During a sit-down at the G-20 summit, Trump asked South Korean President Moon Jae In to relay a message to Kim that Washington is prepared to hold its promises only after North Korea fulfills its steps toward denuclearization.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was due to meet with a top North Korean official in early November, but the meeting was abruptly put off, with North Korea insisting that Washington ease sanctions.

Mr Trump, who met Mr Kim in Singapore in June, said on Saturday that he is likely to meet the North Korean leader for a second time in January or February, with three sites for their meeting under consideration.

"President Trump asked me to forward to [Kim] these messages; he has a very friendly view of Chairman Kim Jong Un and likes him".

Ardern met with Moon on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit and Apec last month, and he has visited New Zealand in 2006 and in 2015.

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Ban, a former South Korean foreign minister, said "this is the time" to achieve North Korea's denuclearisation after almost a quarter century of unsuccessful efforts, and that the North and the world should not lose this opportunity.

Ban said he hopes their second summit will occur at a time when the global community feels confident about North Korea's commitment to denuclearisation.

Trump has frequently described a warm personal relationship with Kim, arguing that this rapport would help him succeed at a diplomatic breakthrough that has eluded United States presidents since the 1950s.

Moon has also facilitated a series of high-level talks between the USA and North Korea, including a summit between Trump and Kim in June. The two countries signed a free-trade deal in 2015.

"New Zealand's stance on nuclear non-proliferation is clear and it is our hope that 2019 will see further progress towards achieving denuclearisation of North Korea in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner and an enduring peace on the Korean peninsula", Ardern said in an emailed statement.

Moon's programme in Auckland includes a ceremony of welcome and a state lunch hosted by Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy at Government House, a wreath laying ceremony and tour of Auckland War Memorial Museum, and an engagement with the Korean community in Auckland.

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