North Korean leader vows to visit Seoul: Cheong Wa Dae

Jan 02, 2019, 02:26
North Korean leader vows to visit Seoul: Cheong Wa Dae

In the letter, Kim expressed appreciation for the three summits between the countries that were held in 2018 and said he regretted not being able to make it to Seoul for a fourth summit, according to The Associated Press.

Moon Jae-in, in a message posted on Facebook, stressed Kim's willingness to comply with the South Korean and US agreements on the issue, but acknowledged that many obstacles remain to be overcome. The report did not include details about the substance of the message but said they related to U.S-North Korea talks. The two sides have clashed over the pace and sequence of talks, with North Korea demanding relief from worldwide sanctions and the US seeking more steps toward disarmament.

It marks the end of a historic year in North-South relations, with the leaders hugging each other on the tarmac of Pyongyang International Airport in their most recent meeting in September - believed to be the first time Kim had greeted visitors at the airport since taking power in 2011.

The South Korean President said he hoped to see Kim in the new year, and that his welcome to the country "remains unchanged".

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"Chairman Kim said he is willing to meet often with President Moon next year to move forward discussions on peace and prosperity and resolve the issue of denuclearization of the Korean peninsula", the spokesman said.

South Korean and USA intelligence agencies believe that the North now has 20 to 60 nuclear warheads.

In his letter, Kim said his landmark 2018 meetings with Moon - one in Pyongyang, and two at the truce village of Panmunjom, on the border between North and South - resulted in "practical and bold measures" to overcome long-standing confrontation and remove fears of war from the peninsula, according to Moon's spokesman.

"Chairman Kim said he will keep a close eye on the situation and expressed strong will to visit Seoul".

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Moon's office did not reveal how Kim Jong Un's letter was delivered or whether he made any comments about his planned second summit with Trump in 2019.

This photo taken on August 10, 2015 and released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on August 11, 2015 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (from L) meeting Korth Korean women footballers upon their arrival at Pyongyang Airport after winning the 2015 EAFF East Asian Cup.

The missive came amid increased skepticism over Kim's willingness to dismantle his arsenal of nuclear weapons, months after a historic summit with President Donald Trump in which the two leaders agreed to work toward denuclearization.

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