Published: Thu, August 16, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Korean President Pledges 'Bold Step' with N. Korea's Kim in Ending War

Korean President Pledges 'Bold Step' with N. Korea's Kim in Ending War

Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was ready for a personal meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the KCNA news agency reported, citing a congratulatory telegram from the Russian leader on the occasion of the Liberation Day, marked by the two Koreas on Wednesday.

Moon said that even if "political unification" between the North and South is a long way off, establishing peace, allowing travel between the North and South and forming a joint economic community "will be true liberation for us".

But in order for the project to proceed, North Korea should carry out practical denuclearization steps so that worldwide sanctions barring foreign investments or business deals with Pyongyang could be lifted.

The U.S. State Department said on Tuesday that no official meetings are planned between the U.S. and North Korea, but that informal talks continue.

Meanwhile, at the risk of arousing suspicion from the South's military ally the United States, Moon declared his ambition to create a Northeast Asian "railroad community" including his own country along with the North, Russia, China, Japan and Mongolia.

The Trump administration maintains there is no timeline for implementing the denuclearization agreement.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in delivers a speech during a ceremony to celebrate Korean Liberation Day, marking the 73rd anniversary of liberation from the Japanese colonial rule, in Seoul, Aug. 15, 2018. "Developments in inter-Korean relations are not the results coming from the side-effects of progress in the relationship between the North and the U.S". He said denuclearization must come before the sanctions are eased.

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Moon held out the promise that restored economic ties could generate $149 billion for North Korea over 30 years.

Moon is to visit Pyongyang in September to hold another summit with Kim. And joint economic projects, like the Kaesong industrial center which closed in 2016, could bring thousands of jobs to the North.

Putin expressed hopes to further develop "reciprocal cooperation including the realization of the tripartite project" that would also involve South Korea.

The South Korean president also said he supported a peace declaration to officially end the Korean War.

During their first summit in April, Moon and Kim agreed to seek a formal end to 1950-53 Korean War, which ended with a truce rather than a peace treaty, leaving the sides in a technical state of war.

The KBS poll also showed 55 percent of South Korean respondents were optimistic about resolving the North Korean nuclear issue, up from 45 percent in 2017.

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