South Korean parties welcome agreement on Trump-Kim talks

SEOUL, South Korea's political parties on Friday welcomed U.S. President Donald Trump's agreement to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un within two months, hoping their talks will help address the decades-old nuclear standoff with the communist state.

Trump has agreed to meet Kim by May to "achieve permanent denuclearization," Chung Eui-yong, South Korean President Moon Jae-in's chief security advisor, told reporters in Washington after briefing Trump on the results of his two-day visit to Pyongyang earlier this week.

Chief among the results was Pyongyang's agreement to hold what will be the third inter-Korean summit in the border village of Panmunjom in late April and stop nuclear and missile tests while dialogue is under way.

"We greatly welcome the fact that after meeting U.S. President Trump, President Moon's special envoy created an opportunity for the establishment of peace on the Korean Peninsula through dialogue between the leaders of North Korean and the United States," Kim Hyun, the spokeswoman for the ruling Democratic Party, told reporters.

"The results of (the special envoy's) visit to the U.S. is a reflection of the aspirations of Presidents Moon and Trump for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and peace, and this was possible because citizens have trusted the Moon government and supported it," she added.

The minor opposition Party for Democracy and Peace also voiced hopes that the emerging mood for dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang will help establish a lasting peace on the divided peninsula.

"It seems that the two sides have come close to the entrance of their dialogue that many have viewed as difficult," Cho Bae-sook, the party's leader said. "We hope that this mood will grow to help achieve denuclearization of the peninsula and build peace."

The minor Bareunmirae Party also painted a positive outlook on the denuclearization efforts, saying the envisioned talks between Trump and Kim will be the "fastest, most practical and effective way" to address the nuclear standoff.

"Though there are concerns that the envisioned talks could be an extension of the North's deceptive gambit, we call for the U.S. to take a more active attitude (to engage with Pyongyang)," Park Joo-sun, a co-chairman of the party, said during a party meeting.

"There may be many preconditions for the talks between President Trump and Chairman Kim, but we are convinced that this would serve as an opportunity to realize peace and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and build world peace," he added.

The main opposition Liberty Korea Party, however, offered a guarded reaction, saying any talks with Pyongyang should be aimed at pressuring it to renounce its nuclear ambitions.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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