South Korean President Moon Jae-In Says Negotiations With Kim Are ‘Completely Different This Time Around’

World leaders have a renewed sense of optimism toward denuclearizing the peninsula, reaching a deal with Pyongyang for peace in the region.

South Korea President Moon Jae-in speaking before the United Nations General Assembly.
Stephanie Keith / Getty Images

World leaders have a renewed sense of optimism toward denuclearizing the peninsula, reaching a deal with Pyongyang for peace in the region.

Earlier this week, South Korea President Moon Jae-in sought to reassure skeptics about positive aspects of his talks with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, stating to a New York-based think tank that he believes his peninsular counterpart will follow through on promises he’s made to him and other nations to denuclearize.

Speaking to an organization called the Council on Foreign Relations on Tuesday, Moon stated that he understood skepticism throughout the world on the matter, saying that it was “only natural that we have plenty of suspicions regarding the true motivations” of his counterpart in North Korea, according to reporting from the Star Tribune.

But, Moon added, he also felt that these new rounds of negotiations between North Korea and South Korea were going in a more positive direction than they had in the past.

“It’s completely different this time around,” Moon explained through an interpreter, adding that he felt direct talks and tentative agreements between U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim earlier this year in Singapore had helped the matter.

The agreement that was discussed between Trump and Moon at that summit, with the end goal being denuclearization of the peninsula, “was a promise made in front of the whole world. For this reason, I believe the promise will be kept,” Moon said.

The comments from Moon came following a recent summit between himself and Kim last week. Following that meeting, Moon stated that Kim would agree to “permanently” decommissioning a missile facility as well as closing a nuclear development complex in his nation if the U.S. and other world leaders would agree to certain security agreements, the Japan Times reported.

“The North expressed its willingness to continue taking additional steps, such as the permanent shutdown of the Nyongbyon nuclear facility, should the United States take corresponding measures under the spirit of the June 12 North Korea-U.S. joint statement,” Moon said.

Progress on the negotiations between North Korea and the U.S. had stalled since the meeting between the two nations’ leaders earlier this year. But Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed “excitement” over the possibility of renewed talks between the countries in the near future, inviting diplomats from Pyongyang to meet with him in New York during the United Nations General Assembly this week.

“This will mark the beginning of negotiations to transform U.S.-DPRK relations through the process of rapid denuclearization of North Korea, to be completed by January 2021, as committed by Chairman Kim, and to construct a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula,” Pompeo said in a statement, according to the Associated Press.