South Korean President Moon Urges Direct Talks Between Trump and Kim Jong Un to Resolve Standoff

Troy Young, May 24, 2018, 11:54 a.m.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in urged the leaders of the United States and North Korea to directly talk to each other Friday, hours after U.S. President Donald Trump called off his scheduled meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

"Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the establishment of permanent peace are historic tasks that can neither be abandoned nor delayed," the president said in an emergency meeting with his top security officials at his office, Cheong Wa Dae.

The remarks came shortly after Trump called off the North Korea summit, citing what he called the North's "tremendous danger and open hostility" toward his country.

"I am very perplexed and it is very regrettable that the North Korea-U.S. summit will not be held on June 12 when it was scheduled to be held," Moon was quoted as saying at the meeting.

The late night meeting, held at Moon's presidential residence, involved the foreign, unification and defense ministers, along with Moon's top security adviser, Chung Eui-yong, and Chief of Staff Im Jong-seok.

Moon's top press secretary, Yoon Young-chan, noted the gathering constituted a de facto National Security Council meeting. While the South Korean leader was still in the meeting, Trump again blamed the communist North for the latest standoff in a White House press conference, also saying his country's military, "which is by far the most powerful in the world, is ready, if necessary."

He said he was still willing to meet Kim should the latter wish to engage in constructive dialogue, but said "in the meantime, our strong sanctions ... maximum pressure campaign will continue as it has been continuing."

Moon noted the problem may lie in the way the countries communicated. "It may be difficult to resolve the sensitive and difficult diplomatic issues through such methods of communication currently being employed," Yoon quoted Moon as saying.

"I hope (the countries) will resolve such issues through more direct and close dialogue between their leaders," he added.

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