President Donald Trump “likes” and “has a very friendly view” of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and wants to grant Kim’s wishes if Pyongyang scraps its nuclear arsenal, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said.
Moon spoke with reporters during the weekend while en route to New Zealand from the Group of 20 Summit in Argentina, saying that Trump had asked him to forward a message to Kim during a meeting on the sidelines of the gathering on Friday.
“The message was that President Trump has a very friendly view of Chairman Kim and that he likes him, and so he wishes Chairman Kim would implement the rest of their agreement and that he would make what Chairman Kim wants come true,” Moon told reporters Saturday.
Moon’s comments came as diplomatic relations between Pyongyang and Washington appear to have hit an impasse. Trump and Kim met at a historic summit in Singapore in June, after which North Korea agreed to work toward a “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” and the U.S. promised to provide security guarantees, but progress has been stalled since.
Both sides held high-level talks since the summit, but Pyongyang is looking for relief of punishing international sanctions in exchange for steps it has already taken, such as dismantling a nuclear testing site, while Washington is holding out for complete denuclearization.
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In the meantime, North Korea has continued to run its ballistic missile program at several secret bases, according to a recent report from Washington think tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies, while Pyongyang announced the test of a new “ultramodern tactical weapon” earlier this month amidst the stalled diplomatic efforts.
Moon told reporters that “corresponding measures” might be given for steps that North Korea takes toward completely dismantling its nuclear weapons program, but these did not have to include sanctions relief.
“For example, postponing or reducing U.S.-[ and joint South Korean] military exercises may be a sort of corresponding measure, or humanitarian assistance, or some kind of non-political exchange, whether it is a sports exchange or an art troupe,” he said.
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