|President Moon Jae-in addresses a team of advisers at a luncheon held ahead of a scheduled inter-Korean summit next week, at Cheong Wa Dae, Thursday. Yonhap|
By Kim Bo-eun
President Moon Jae-in on Thursday affirmed trust between leaders of North Korea and the U.S. amid the ongoing denuclearization process. The remarks came during a meeting with advisers for the scheduled summit next week.
"Working-level talks may be lacking progress, but the leaders of North Korea and the U.S. continue to exchange letters and are affirming mutual trust," he said at Cheong Wa Dae.
"It is not that North Korea and the U.S. do not want to take action. North Korea is willing to denuclearize, and the U.S. is also willing to end hostile bilateral relations and take measures that will ensure the North Korean regime's security. The process is stalled due to differences over who will take their measure first, so I believe they will be able to find a way to resolve the situation," Moon said.
The President shared with the advisers ongoing preparations for the summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to be held from Sept. 18 to 20, and heard from former officials who were involved in holding the inter-Korean summits in 2000 and 2007.
Former unification minister Lim Dong-won heads the team of advisers. Lim, as the head of the National Intelligence Service, met with former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang in May 2000, and arranged the first summit between leaders of the South and North that took place in June the same year.
"We believe the inter-Korean summit in Pyongyang will lend an impetus in easing military tension and attaining peace, based on agreements, and become an opportunity to develop inter-Korean relations," Lim said ahead of the meeting.
"We also expect the summit will contribute to the process of North Korea's denuclearization and the U.S. normalizing relations with North Korea being pushed forward simultaneously," he said.
The team includes other former unification ministers Park Jae-kyu, Jeong Se-hyun, Lee Jong-seok and Lee Jae-jung. Also included on the team are Rep. Park Jie-won of the minor liberal Party for Democracy and Peace (PDP), who made a secret visit to the North while he served as culture minister in 2000 and arranged the summit, as well as PDP Chairman Chung Dong-young, who met Kim Jong-il as unification minister in 2005.
The first summit between leaders of the South and North in 2000 took place between South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il _ Kim Jong-un's father. The second took place in 2007 in between South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and Kim Jong-il.
The third took place between Moon and Kim Jong-un in April. Moon, who met Kim for a second summit in May, will see the North Korean leader for the third time next week.
This time, he will head to Pyongyang, becoming the first South Korean leader to visit the North in 11 years. The former two summits were held at the truce village of Panmunjeom.
Moon also met with advisors ahead of the April summit.
The Koreas have yet to hold working-level meetings on protocol, security and press coverage for the summit.
The third summit between Moon and Kim was nailed down after a delegation of South Korean envoys met the North Korean leader in Pyongyang earlier this month. National Security Office chief Chung Eui-yong stated the leaders will discuss developing inter-Korean relations, as well as denuclearization and achieving peace on the Korean Peninsula.