SEOUL, South Korea – The Latest on an upcoming inter-Korean summit (all times local):
South Korea says North Korean leader Kim Jong Un told him that dismantling work at his main rocket launch site meant the “complete suspension” of all future long-range ballistic missile tests.
Senior South Korean official Chung Eui-yong told reporters Thursday that Kim made the comments while reaffirming his commitment to denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula during their meeting in Pyongyang this week.
Since entering talks this year, North Korea has taken several steps such as dismantling parts of its main rocket launch site and closing its nuclear testing site. But U.S. officials say North Korea must take more serious disarmament measures.
Chung cites Kim as saying dismantling at the Tongchang-ri rocket site mean no future long-range missile tests would take place because it’s his only long-range rocket testing site.
He says Kim also told him no more nuclear test would be possible in the Punggye-ri nuclear testing site because it has been completely dismantled.
Seoul says the leaders of the two Koreas will meet Sept. 18-20 in Pyongyang to discuss how to achieve the “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
Senior presidential official Chung Eui-yong told reporters Thursday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un also reaffirmed his “firm resolve” to realize denuclearization when he met him in Pyongyang on Wednesday.
Chung’s trip came amid deadlocked diplomacy over North Korea’s nuclear program. North Korea has taken several steps such as dismantling its nuclear testing site this year, but the U.S. wants it to take more serious disarmament measures.
Chung says Kim’s summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in will focus on what specific steps must be taken to realize the denuclearization.
He says the Koreas will hold talks next week to prepare for the summit.
North Korean media have released a declaration from leader Kim Jong Un that reaffirms his commitment to a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula amid a growing standoff with the United States.
The statement Thursday from the Korean Central News Agency followed a high-level South Korean delegation’s visit to Pyongyang to meet with Kim and to set up a summit later this month between him and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
Kim was paraphrased as saying that it was “his will to completely remove the danger of armed conflict and horror of war from the Korean peninsula and turn it into the cradle of peace without nuclear weapons and free from nuclear threat.”