SEOUL -- South Korea President Moon Jae-in said Sunday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is ready to accept U.S. demands for "complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization," and that he has the strong will necessary to carry through with complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
He also said Kim told him he wants the U.S. to provide a security guarantee in exchange for the North following through with denuclearization.
Moon met Kim on Saturday at Kim's request in the truce village of Panmunjom, where the two leaders exchanged views on the denuclearization process as well as Kim's possible summit with U.S. President Donald Trump. Moon said Kim requested the meeting to help resolve issues between the two Koreas and to pave the way for the success of his summit with Trump.
"Chairman Kim Jong Un expressed his will for the complete denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula clearly again, after he did so in the Panmunjom Declaration," said Moon in a press briefing. "He showed his intention to cooperate for peace and prosperity as well as end the history of war and conflicts through the success of the North Korea-U.S. summit."
Asked if Kim is willing to accept the conditions suggested by Washington, Moon said that it is his understanding that the U.S. may have already confirmed that is the case. "I think the U.S. may have confirmed North Korea's will for this. If there is something unresolved, I think [the U.S.] could confirm this during their working-level negotiations."
Moon's announcement came as the U.S. and North Korea resumed talks for their planned summit on June 12 in Singapore, which Trump had cancelled on Thursday citing Pyongyang's "tremendous anger and open hostility." But the U.S. president indicated Friday that the meeting might still go ahead, perhaps even on the same day it had been initially planned to take place.
Moon said Kim is worried the U.S. will continue to be hostile toward North Korea and wants it to guarantee the security of his country if North Korea gives up its nuclear and missile programs. Moon said that he told Kim that Trump expressed his will to help North Korea prosper economically as well as end hostile relations when North Korea follows through with denuclearization.
Just before Moon's press conference on Sunday, Trump at the White House said that he is still considering to meet with Kim on June 12 as it was originally planned. "We're looking at June 12th meeting in Singapore. That hasn't changed," he told reporters.
The North's official Korean Central News Agency reported on Sunday that Kim expressed his "fixed will" on the historic summit with the U.S. leader.
Jin Chang-soo, president at Sejong Institute in Seongnam, said that the chance is very high that a Trump-Kim summit will take place since it would help both leaders. He said that it is important to see the process with the perspective of interests rather than focusing on their rhetoric.
"For Kim Jong Un, the dialogue mode will lead to a softening of international sanctions on North Korea. That is also good for Trump who can use this momentum for the domestic politics," said Jin. "Unlike power elites in Washington who distrust North Korea's will [to follow through on U.S. demands], the leaders of the two countries have common political interests for the summit."