PYONGYANG, North Korea -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in said today that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has agreed to permanently dismantle a missile engine test site and a launch pad in the presence of international experts in what he described as a specific step toward denuclearization.
On the second day of summit talks in Pyongyang, Moon also said the North agreed to take further steps such as permanently dismantling its main Nyongbyon nuclear complex if the United States takes corresponding measures.
Moon and Kim spoke at a news conference after signing a joint statement in which Kim promised to visit Seoul "in the near future."
Earlier today the two leaders smiled and chatted as they walked down a hallway and into a meeting room at the guesthouse where Moon is staying. Kim's sister and North Korea's top propaganda official, Kim Yo Jong, were in attendance. North Korea was expected to hold a mass games spectacle later in the day, with Moon attending an event expected to draw about 150,000 spectators, Seoul said. It wasn't clear if Kim would attend.
This is the third summit between the leaders and is Moon's first visit to Pyongyang as South Korea's leader. The two met on the border in April and May.
The big question hovering over the talks is whether Kim will agree to take steps to convince Washington that he is willing to denuclearize. U.S. officials want to see concrete steps from the North, including submitting a full list of its nuclear weapons and facilities and fissile materials, and they want it to freeze its nuclear activities.
Kim expressed optimism Tuesday about the future of the negotiations, thanking Moon for helping bring about his June summit meeting with President Donald Trump in Singapore.
"Thanks to that meeting, the situation around the Korean Peninsula has stabilized and we can now expect more progress," Kim said at the start of a two-hour meeting with Moon at the headquarters of the ruling Workers' Party, according to pool reports from South Korean journalists in Pyongyang, the North's capital.
Kim greeted Moon on Tuesday morning at the Pyongyang airport, kicking off a spectacle that stressed the ethnic affinity of the two Koreas.
When Moon stepped off his plane, a smiling Kim was waiting on the tarmac with a military honor guard and a large crowd of Pyongyang residents mobilized for his arrival. After the two leaders hugged and moved to their cars, the crowd chanted "Hurrah!" and "Peace and prosperity!" while waving plastic flowers and "Korea-is-one" flags that showed an undivided Korean Peninsula.
Tuesday's crowds were clearly mobilized to demonstrate the North Koreans' adoration for Kim and their support for his uriminzokkiri, or "among our nation," policy of stressing inter-Korean cooperation while the North engages in a nuclear standoff with the United States.
Next week, Moon is expected to brief Trump during a trip to the U.N. Then, Trump is expected to decide whether he will meet with Kim again. The White House said last week that Kim had recently proposed a second meeting.
"If my visit helps restart North Korea-U.S. dialogue, that itself will be highly meaningful," Moon said Tuesday.
On Tuesday morning, North Korea's state media told its people of Moon's planned visit, saying that his meeting with Kim "will offer an important opportunity in further accelerating the development of inter-Korean relations that is making a new history." It did not make any reference to its nuclear weapons program.
Information for this article was contributed by Eric Talmadge, Kim Tong-Hyung, Hyung-jin Kim and Foster Klug of The Associated Press; and by Choe Sang-Hun of The New York Times.
A Section on 09/19/2018
Print Headline: Moon in N. Korea for new talks with Kim