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Three-way summit with North Korea, US possible, says South Korea

Panmunjom could be site for historic talks between two Koreas and US

SEOUL:  South Korean President Moon Jae In said yesterday a three-way summit with North Korea and the US is possible and that talks should aim for an end to the nuclear threat on the Korean peninsula.

Mr Moon is planning a meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un next month after a flurry of diplomatic activity in Asia, Europe and the US.

US President Donald Trump has also said he would meet Kim by the end of May.

"A North Korea-US summit would be a historic event in itself following an inter-Korean summit," Mr Moon said at the presidential Blue House in Seoul after a preparatory meeting for the inter-Korean summit.

"Depending on the location, it could be even more dramatic. And depending on progress, it may lead to a three-way summit between the South, North and the United States," he said.

South Korean officials are considering the border truce village of Panmunjom, where Mr Moon and Kim are set for a one-day meeting, as the venue for talks between not only Kim and Mr Moon but also a possible three-way meeting.

The rush of recent diplomatic contacts began in the lead-up to the Winter Olympics in South Korea last month and helped ease tensions on the Korean peninsula caused by North Korea's pursuit of its nuclear and missile programmes in defiance of United Nations Security Council sanctions.

Mr Moon said the series of summits should aim for a "complete end" to the nuclear and peace issues on the Korean peninsula.

He said he has a "clear goal and vision", which is for the establishment of a lasting peace to replace the ceasefire signed at the end of the 1950-53 Korean war.

It also includes the normalisation of North Korea-US relations, the development of inter-Korean ties, and economic cooperation involving Pyongyang and Washington, he said.

"Whether the two Koreas live together or separately, we have to make it in a way that they prosper together and in peace, without interfering or causing damage to each other," Mr Moon said.

DISCUSSION

A Blue House official also said South Korea was in discussion with China and Japan for a three-way summit in Tokyo in early May.

The three countries have not held such a meeting since November 2015, with relations soured by historical and territorial tension.

Meanwhile, North Korea has broken its silence on the diplomatic thaw with Washington and Seoul, saying it is driving the "peace offensive" and rejecting suggestions that sanctions forced it to the negotiating table.- REUTERS, AFP

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