Kim calls for more Korea talks with Moon in new year

Kim’s letter comes days before he is expected to announce major policy decisions and goals in a New Year’s speech.

Kim Jong Un/ Moon Jae-in
Kim and Moon met three times in 2018 in an unprecedented thaw in inter-Korean relations [File: KNCA via Reuters]

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has sent a letter to South Korean President Moon Jae-in asking for talks in the new year, according to Moon’s office.

The Blue House said that Kim expressed regret that he couldn’t make a planned visit to Seoul, South Korea‘s capital, by the end of December, as pledged by the leaders during their last summit in September in the North Korean capital, Pyongyang. 

Chairman Kim expressed a strong willingness to visit Seoul as he monitors the situation,” South Korean Presidential Spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom told reporters in a televised briefing on Sunday.

“Kim also stated that he is willing to meet often with President Moon in 2019 to advance discussions of the peace and prosperity of the Korean Peninsula and to resolve together the issue of denuclearising the Korean Peninsula,” said Kim Eui-kyeom. 


Kim and Moon met three times in 2018 and have made a series of goodwill gestures as well as vowing to resume economic cooperation when possible. 

The rivals have also taken steps to reduce their conventional military threat, such as removing mines and firearms from the border village of Panmunjom, destroying some front-line guard posts and creating buffer zones along their land and sea boundaries and a no-fly zone above the border.

“Chairman Kim said that the leaders by meeting three times in a single year and implementing bold measures to overcome the long period of conflict lifted our (Korean) nation from military tension and war fears,” Kim Eui-kyeom said.

Committing to denuclearisation

The letter comes days before Kim Jong Un is expected to address North Koreans in a New Year’s speech that the country’s leaders traditionally use to announce major policy decisions and goals.

Last year, Kim used his speech to initiate diplomacy with Seoul and Washington, which led to his meetings with Moon and an historic June summit with US President Donald Trump in Singapore. 


In these meetings, Kim signed on to vague statements calling for a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula without describing when or how this would be achieved. 

Post-summit nuclear talks between Washington and Pyongyang quickly settled into a stalemate as the countries struggled between the sequencing of North Korea’s disarmament and the removal of US-led international sanctions against North Korea. 

Doubts remain as to whether Kim will voluntarily relinquish North Korea‘s nuclear weapons, which are considered an important bargaining chip for the cash-strapped country.

Source: AP