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(News Focus) N. Korea's Kim asks Trump to restart denuclearization talks

All Headlines 14:03 September 06, 2018

SEOUL, Sept. 6 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has apparently asked U.S. President Donald Trump to resume their countries' denuclearization talks, according to a South Korean envoy who met the reclusive North Korean leader during his one-day trip to Pyongyang.

While meeting with Chung Eui-yong, the special envoy of South Korean President Moon Jae-in, on Wednesday, Kim said he has faith in the U.S. president and that he has never even talked bad about Trump even to his closest aides.

"Chairman Kim especially stressed that he has never talked negative about President Trump to his staff or anyone else. And he said he hoped to end 70 years of a hostile relationship between North Korea and the U.S., and realize denuclearization by improving the North-U.S. relationship within Trump's first term," Chung told a press briefing in Seoul on Thursday.

Kim also asked Chung to deliver his message to the U.S., according to Chung.

Kim's remarks come amid an apparent impasse in denuclearization talks between the North and the United States.

Trump called off a scheduled North Korea trip by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pomepo last month, citing what he called a lack of progress in the North's denuclearization process.

The North Korean leader insisted the steps his country has taken so far must be considered significant and meaningful.

"(Kim) said North Korea has pre-emptively taken necessary measures to denuclearize and that he hoped such goodwill measures would be considered goodwill," Chung told the press briefing.

The North Korean leader also noted his country has effectively dismantled its nuclear test site in Punggye-ri, along with its only missile engine test facility in Dongchang-ri that he said meant a complete halt to any nuclear and long-range ballistic missile tests.

"(He) expressed difficulties stemming from a poor evaluation of such measures from the international community though they are very practical and meaningful steps," Chung said.

North Korea staged more than 10 missile tests in 2017 alone while also conducting its sixth and most powerful nuclear test in September.

Many believe the U.S.-North Korea talks currently face a stumbling block due to the North asking for early rewards while the U.S. insists on complete denuclearization.

Following his latest trip to Pyongyang in July, Pompeo said he had very productive discussions with his North Korean counterparts on ways to advance the denuclearization process.

North Korea, on the other hand, accused the U.S. of making "gangster-like demands" for its unconditional denuclearization.

Speaking to the South Korean envoy, Kim apparently stressed the need to motivate his country to further accelerate its denuclearization process.

"(He) strongly stressed that he may be able to take more active measures for denuclearization of North Korea should there be rewards for such pre-emptive measures taken by North Korea," Chung said.

All in all, the North Korean leader has apparently made a rare, if not unprecedented, appeal to the U.S. president to help.

"(Chairman Kim) said his faith in President Trump remains unchanged. He made that clear," Chung told the press briefing.

The now-stalled denuclearization talks between the U.S. and North Korea followed their leaders' historic summit in Singapore on June 12.

As a goodwill gesture coming out of the Trump-Kim summit, the U.S. agreed to suspend its massive joint military exercises with South Korea for as long as the North attends the denuclearization talks in good faith.

In return, North Korea has returned to the U.S. the remains of more than 100 U.S. armed service members killed or captured in the 1950-53 Korean War.


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