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Moon's efforts for inter-Korean ties to gain pace with Trump's support

All Headlines 11:21 July 02, 2017

SEOUL, July 2 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in has received a boost in his push for improving inter-Korean relations as U.S. President Donald Trump has formally thrown his weight behind it, government officials and experts here said Sunday.

In their summit in Washington, D.C. last week, they stressed the door to dialogue with North Korea remains open "under the right circumstances," according to a joint statement.

Trump also "supported President Moon's aspirations to restart inter-Korean dialogue on issues including humanitarian affairs" and hailed South Korea's "leading role" in creating the conditions for the peaceful reunification of the two Koreas.

The agreement has helped ease concerns about a possible mismatch in the allies' approach toward the nuclear-armed North.

It's apparently one of the biggest accomplishments for Moon, a liberal president who took office in early May, in his first talks with Trump.

"With regard to our government's resolve to resume South-North talks, it's true that there was some burden from worries that it may undermine (international) sanctions on North Korea," a government official said on the condition of anonymity.

The summit deal, however, has dispelled such a view and laid the groundwork for the Moon government to push for its North Korea policy "with more confidence," he added.

Kim Yong-hyun, a professor at Dongguk University, agreed that it will be of help in silencing criticism that Moon's policy to engage Pyongyang will harm Seoul's alliance with Washington.

"In that sense, it is expected to serve as an important chance for creating circumstances at home and abroad for restoring South-North relations," Kim said.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in (L) holds a joint press briefing with his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump at the White House on June 30, 2017. (Yonhap)

lcd@yna.co.kr
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