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(3rd LD) S. Korean president expresses thanks for N. Korean leader's letter: presidential office

All News 19:37 December 30, 2018

(ATTN: RECASTS with Moon's reaction and background)

SEOUL, Dec. 30 (Yonhap) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Sunday hailed North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's renewed commitment to denuclearization, a development that may give fresh momentum to the stalled denuclearization talks with the United States.

"Kim 'reaffirmed his commitment to aggressively carrying out deals reached' with leaders of South Korea and the United States," Moon said of Kim's personal letter.

The North Korean leader repeatedly said he is committed to the "complete denuclearization" of the Korean Peninsula during his separate summits with Moon and U.S. President Donald Trump earlier this year.

(3rd LD) S. Korean president expresses thanks for N. Korean leader's letter: presidential office - 1

Still, no significant progress has been made as North Korea and the U.S. have been at odds over sanctions imposed on Pyongyang for its nuclear tests and its long-range rocket launches.

Pyongyang has repeatedly called for the lifting of sanctions, but the U.S. has maintained that present restrictions will remain in place until the North fully gives up its weapons of mass destruction programs.

Kim -- who met with Moon three times this year -- also said he wants to meet Moon frequently in 2019 to discuss practical measures for peace and prosperity and to resolve the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, Moon said.

"Even though there will be a lot of difficulties going forward, our hearts will be opened to each other depending on how much effort we make," Moon wrote in a Facebook message.

Moon's reaction came soon after South Korea announced that Kim sent a letter to Moon.

Moon also said South Korea "remains unchanged in welcoming" Kim's possible trip to Seoul.

Kim expressed disappointment for not making his promised trip to Seoul by year's end but emphasized a strong willingness to honor the promise while closely watching relevant situations, presidential spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom told reporters.

Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom briefs reporters on the personal letter sent by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Dec. 30, 2018. (Yonhap)


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