In a phone conversation with his US counterpart, Donald Trump, Moon said his country was open to economic engagement with Pyongyang as a “concession” to expedite the North’s denuclearization, the South Korean president’s office said Tuesday, Presstv Reported.
Moon and Trump further discussed an upcoming meeting between the American president and North Korea’s head of state Kim Jong-un.
Trump and Kim are set to hold their second meeting in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi on February 27 and 28.
They first met in Singapore last June, breaking a decades-long precedent of fiery exchanges between Pyongyang and Washington over the North’s nuclear weapons and Washington’s heavy military buildup on the Korean Peninsula.
The Singapore summit was followed by an inter-Korean agreement last September, under which the two neighbors agreed to ease tensions on the Peninsula though various measures, including partial demilitarization of their border areas.
South Korea’s Yonhap news agency cited observers as saying that the weeks that followed the deal witnessed notable endeavor at its implementation, but the efforts have slowed down due to, what they called, the North’s focus on the Hanoi summit.
“This year, inter-Korean consultations have rarely been held, though there have been exchanges of documents (about the accord),” a government source told the agency on condition of anonymity.
“Pyongyang has recently been preoccupied with preparations for the second summit,” the agency reported.
Kim Eui-kyeom, spokesman for Moon’s office, meanwhile, cited the US President as telling Moon that he had “high expectations” for the Hanoi summit.
On Friday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also told Icelandic broadcaster RUV that he was looking forward to “progress” at next week's summit.
“In a couple weeks he (Trump) will travel -- I'll go along with him -- to Hanoi, where he will again meet with Chairman Kim Jong-un, and I hope we can make a material decrease in the risk that Kim Jong-un’s nuclear weapons pose to the world,” he said.
Washington’s focus on the North’s unconventional weapons comes weeks after the US suspended the implementation its Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russia.