S. Korea president: ‘Too early to be optimistic’ on North
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S. Korea president: ‘Too early to be optimistic’ on North

Moon Jae-in says there will no let-up in sanctions and pressure, ‘inter-Korean talks won’t be enough to achieve peace’

South Korea's President Moon Jae-in and his wife Kim Jung-sook wave national flags during a ceremony marking the 99th Independence Movement Day against the 1910-1945 Japanese colonial rule in Seoul on March 1, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / Jung Yeon-je)
South Korea's President Moon Jae-in and his wife Kim Jung-sook wave national flags during a ceremony marking the 99th Independence Movement Day against the 1910-1945 Japanese colonial rule in Seoul on March 1, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / Jung Yeon-je)

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Wednesday it was “too early to be optimistic” about the North’s offer to discuss denuclearization with the United States.

“We are only at the starting line,” Moon told political party leaders after his envoys revealed Kim Jong Un’s offer following their return from a historic trip to Pyongyang.

He denied allegations of a behind-the-scenes agreement with Pyongyang in return for it coming to the negotiating table.

“There has been no backroom deal whatsoever with the North,” Moon was quoted as saying by a spokesman of the minor opposition Bareunmirae Party.

“There will be no such a thing as a gift to the North,” Moon added.

In this Monday, March 5, 2018 photo, provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, front right, meets South Korean National Security Director Chung Eui-yong, front left, in Pyongyang, North Korea (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

The South’s leader stressed the importance of maintaining close co-operation with the US, its security guarantor, adding: “I think denuclearization talks will become feasible only when South Korea and the US take common positions” on the issue.

There would be no let-up in sanctions or pressure purely as a result of inter-Korean dialogue, he said.

“Inter-Korean talks won’t be enough to achieve peace.”

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