Moon says next two months critical to peace, denuclearization

SEOUL, South Korean President Moon Jae-in called for all-out efforts Monday to successfully hold rare dialogue with North Korea over the next two months, calling it an important and also very difficult chance to achieve what the world has failed to do so far.

"We now have a very precious chance to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, establish a permanent peace regime and build a path of joint prosperity for South and North Korea," the president said in a weekly meeting with his presidential aides, held at his office Cheong Wa Dae.

"There will be important changes as a South-North Korea summit and a U.S.-North Korea summit will be held. Should we succeed, there will be dramatic changes in world history, and the Republic of Korea will have played the leading role," he said, referring to his country by its official name.

Moon's remarks came about a week after his special envoys held monumental talks with the reclusive North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, while traveling to Pyongyang. In the meeting held last Monday, the North Korean leader agreed to hold what would be a third inter-Korean summit late next month.

Kim also told the South Korean envoys that he wished to hold talks with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Kim's message was earlier delivered to Trump by Moon's chief envoy and top security adviser, Chung Eui-yong. Trump said he will meet the North Korean leader by May.

Moon urged bipartisan efforts for the upcoming dialogue with North Korea, calling it a must-not-miss opportunity for the entire nation and the world.

"Now the world is paying attention to our ability. The fate of the Republic of Korea and the Korean Peninsula depends on whether we successfully seize this opportunity," the president said, according to Cheong Wa Dae pool reports.

"This is too important an opportunity to miss, not just for a government but also for the nation of the Republic of Korea," he added.

The president also noted the opportunity may still bear no fruit even with the country's best efforts.

"What we hope to achieve in such a short period of time of about two months is a great transition that the world has failed to realize so far. And that is why we may not be optimistic about the outcome and must remain careful in the process," he said.

"Only the people's support will be our strength that will lead us to success while overcoming unpredictable external factors. I sincerely ask our people, ruling and opposition parties and conservatives and liberals to overcome their differences and join all their strength as one, so the upcoming talks will be successful."

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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