CORRECTS – Singapore agreement basis for dialogue with North: South Korea


Riyaz ul Khaliq

ANKARA (AA) – South Korea on Monday said an agreement reached between North Korea and the US at their 2018 summit in Singapore forms the basis for further engagement with Pyongyang.

“It has become clear that dialogue will be based on the North Korea-US agreement in Singapore, which North Korea apparently has hoped for, and the US designated its top nuclear envoy for the job, which is seen as signifying its willingness for dialogue,” said Lee In-young, South Korea’s unification minister.

His comments followed last week’s meeting in Washington between US President Joe Biden and his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in.

Meeting in Singapore in 2018, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and then-US President Donald Trump “agreed to work toward the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in exchange for security guarantees from Washington,” said Seoul-based Yonhap news.

“Taking all those things into account, [the Moon-Biden meeting] served as a chance to generate sufficient conditions for South Korea, North Korea and the US to create a virtuous circle of dialogue and work actively to improve their relations," said Lee, according to Yonhap.

At an April 2018 Koreas summit, Kim and Moon adopted a Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Reunification of the Korean Peninsula. It calls for cooperation to ease tensions, expand exchanges, and rid the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons.

Last Friday, Moon and Biden “agreed to engage diplomatically with North Korea and take pragmatic steps to reduce tensions.”

Biden has named Sung Kim, former US ambassador to South Korea, the US special envoy to North Korea.

Washington also reached out to Pyongyang in mid-February, with little success.

“When the US knocked on the door of North Korea in February, the North rejected it, but when it sought to explain the outcome of its policy review, the North did not,” Lee added. “I think North Korea will look into the results of the South Korea-US summit and make some kind of decision.”

Lee Jong-joo, spokesperson of the South Korea’s unification ministry, said: “We also hope that North Korea will return to the spirit of the Panmunjom Declaration and the Singapore agreement and actively respond to (offers for) dialogue and cooperation.”