SEOUL: Reuters reported on Tuesday that South Korean President Moon Jae-in said it was too early to be pessimistic about stalled decentralization dialogue between the United States and North Korea, adding that Pyongyang has not yet shut the door to more talks.
Moon said U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was a good sign that underscores his commitment to negotiations. Moon was speaking at a news conference at the presidential Blue House.
“Some were concerned about a new round of provocations just in time for Chairman Kim’s birthday,” Moon said. “Instead, President Trump sent him birthday wishes to stress his willingness to talk. It was a great idea.”
On Friday, a South Korean official said Trump had asked the South Koreans to pass on birthday greetings to North Korea.
Over the weekend, however, North Korea released a statement saying it had already directly received a letter from Trump and ridiculed South Korea for trying to “meddle” in U.S.-North Korea relations.
“North Korea made clear that the door to dialogue is not closed by saying they will come back to talks only when their demands are accepted,” Moon said of that North Korean response.
In his New Year’s speech on Jan. 7, Moon said there was a “desperate need” for ways to improve ties with North Korea.
According to Reuters, rising tensions and international sanctions have blocked many of Moon’s proposals for inter-Korean projects, and Pyongyang has spent the past year criticizing Seoul as being beholden to the United States. While in a recent interview to media, White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien said the United States had reached out to North Korea seeking to resume talks.