NK leader demonstrates humility with frank talk about economy

NK leader demonstrates humility with frank talk about economy

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has arrived in Pyongyang for his third summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, seeking to reboot stalled talks with the United States over the North's denuclearisation.

The first visit by a South Korean leader to Pyongyang in a decade is also the men's third meeting this year after two previous summits in April and May in the Demilitarized Zone that divides the peninsula.

People watch a screen showing live footage of the arrival of South Korean President Moon Jae-in at Pyongyang airport as Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un hug, at a railway station in Seoul on September 18, 2018.

Reflecting the indifference by many in the South, the only item among South Korea's biggest web portal Naver's top 10 news related to the summit was of a rap musician who was traveling with Moon to Pyongyang.

"The VVIP treatment is reserved for a very small number of people in the world, but President Moon more than deserves it of course, given all that he is doing for the peace process", Mr Ho told The Straits Times.

The two leaders began official talks on Tuesday afternoon, after parading down the streets of Pyongyang in Kim's black Mercedes limousine to loud cheers from almost 100,000 North Koreans who waved flowers and chanted "Unification!"

At their first summit, the Panmunjeom Declaration was issued calling for "complete" denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and efforts to declare a formal end to the 1950-1953 Korean War. Currently, all major joint projects between the Koreas are stalled because of US -led sanctions.

This sudden second inter-Korean Summit of 2018 showed that South Korea had actually succeeded at winning North Korea's trust.

Signing in: South Korean President Moon Jae-in signs a guestbook as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un looks on at the headquarters of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea in Pyongyang, North Korea.

The South Korean president has also said he will focus on easing military tensions and promoting talks on denuclearisation.

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Talks between Washington and Pyongyang have sputtered in recent weeks, raising doubts about Kim's supposed willingness to relinquish his nuclear arsenal and putting the pressure on Moon to broker progress once again.

At the time, the North Korean leader declared his backing for the denuclearisation of the peninsula.

Before a luncheon at the Paekhwawon Guest House, Moon said that "spring in Panmunjom leads to autumn in Pyongyang", and thanked the North for the warm welcome.

Moon and his wife, Kim Jung-sook, were greeted by Kim and his wife, Ri Sol Ju.

"We will push for North Korea's advanced denuclearisation and a reciprocal measure from the U.S. by swiftly reviving honest dialogue aimed at establishing new, peaceful relations", Moon's chief of staff Im Jong-seok said.

About 150 business, entertainment and sports leaders streamed onto the aircraft before it departed.

Underscoring the challenges ahead, North Korea's official Rodong Sinmun said on Tuesday "the responsibility falls squarely on the United States" for the stalled nuclear discussions. The first day of the visit will conclude with a welcoming event and a state dinner hosted by the North.

The question is now whether Moon can persuade Kim to make any more concrete commitments like handing over of a list of nuclear stockpiles, or broker a second summit between the USA and the North.

Moon is expected to stay in Pyongyang for three days through Thursday.

Meanwhile, the United States and Russian Federation clashed Monday over enforcing U.N. sanctions against North Korea, with the USA ambassador accusing Moscow of "cheating" and Russia's envoy accusing Washington of "political ill-intent".

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