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Seoul hopes DMZ meeting will serve as 'turning point' in denuclearization, advance cross-border ties

All News 11:33 July 01, 2019

SEOUL, July 1 (Yonhap) -- The historic meeting held at the inter-Korean border between the leaders of the two Koreas and the United States will serve as a "turning point" in nuclear talks and contribute to advancing inter-Korean relations, the unification ministry said Monday.

On Sunday, U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un held a one-on-one meeting at the truce village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone that bisects the two Koreas. They also met South Korean President Moon Jae-in briefly, the first-ever three-way encounter among the leaders.

"We hope that yesterday's historic Panmunjom meeting among the leaders of South Korea, North Korea and the U.S. will serve as a turning point in efforts on denuclearization and establishment of lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula," Lee Sang-min, the ministry's spokesperson, told a regular press briefing.

The DMZ meeting came amid stalled denuclearization talks between the U.S. and North Korea since the breakdown of their second summit in February as they failed to find common ground over the scope of Pyongyang's denuclearization steps and Washington's sanctions relief.

Inter-Korean relations have also been in limbo with major cooperative projects suspended, apparently affected by a lack of progress in denuclearization talks and worries over sanctions that Washington says it will keep in place until the North's denuclearization.

"It is true that improvements in inter-Korean relations have faced a lull since the breakdown of the February summit in Hanoi," the spokesperson said.

"As denuclearization talks between the North and the U.S. are expected to accelerate after yesterday's meeting, our government will continue to make efforts to keep the momentum for dialogue and talks between the two Koreas alive and try to strengthen a virtuous circle among inter-Korean ties, denuclearization and U.S.-North Korea relations."

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (L) walks with U.S. President Donald Trump (C) and South Korean President Moon Jae-in toward the northern side of the truce village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone, which separates the two Koreas, on June 30, 2019, after holding talks with Trump at the Freedom House on the village's southern side. (Yonhap)


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