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South Korean President Moon hints at three-way US, North Korea talks

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has teased the possibility of a three-way meeting between the United States, North...

Posted: Mar 21, 2018 1:31 PM
Updated: Mar 21, 2018 1:31 PM

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has teased the possibility of a three-way meeting between the United States, North Korea and South Korea, if a series of upcoming summits is successful.

Speaking after a meeting of the Inter-Korean Summit Preparatory Committee on Wednesday, Moon said negotiations were continuing ahead of the "historic talks" planned for next month with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

Moon is expected to meet with Kim in April, the first time the North Korean leader has publicly met with a foreign head of state.

"Through these talks and future talks, we must end the nuclear and peace issue on the Korean Peninsula. It is necessary to make it possible for the two Koreas to live together peacefully without interfering with each other or damaging each other," Moon said Wednesday.

The meeting between Moon and Kim is just a warm-up for the main event however, with US President Donald Trump accepting an invitation to meet with the North Korean leader sometime before the end of May.

It will be the first time a sitting US President has met with a member of North Korea's ruling Kim family.

No three-way talks have previously been suggested but Moon said if the other summits went well there was a possibility it could lead to high-level meetings. Moon said Wednesday the goals of the upcoming negotiations were denuclearization and "permanent peace" on the Korean Peninsula.

'A sign of change'

Moon's comments came as North Korean state media appeared to make its first positive comments about the United States since the upcoming summit between Trump and Kim was announced.

In an editorial published on North Korea's state broadcaster KCNA, there has been "a sign of change" in relations between the two countries.

North Korea had been unusually silent on the prospect of talks with the United States ever since Trump accepted their invitation for a one-on-one meeting with Kim.

In an editorial Wednesday, the broadcaster warned conservatives in the US and South Korea were attempting to derail talks by "peddling groundless stories distorting the truth."

"It is really an expression of small-mindedness for the riff-raffs to spoil the atmosphere, and say this or that, even before the parties concerned are given a chance to study the inner thoughts of the other side and are seated at a negotiating table," the editorial said.

Preparations for the US and North Korea talks appear to be already under way, with foreign minister Ri Yong Ho traveling to Sweden for talks with the country's diplomats, who represent US interests in Pyongyang, and meetings taking place in Finland.

The visit led to speculation a potential meeting between Trump and Kim could take place in Stockholm, a neutral location and an alternative to either Washington or Pyongyang.

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