President Moon Jae-in, on a visit to Brussels, Belgium, to attend the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit, held a series of bilateral talks this morning with British Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. The President discussed bilateral economic, trade and cultural exchanges with them as well as ongoing denuclearization efforts on the Korean Peninsula and a process for the settlement of permanent peace on the Peninsula.
At the meeting with Prime Minister May of the United Kingdom, a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, and the subsequent meeting with Chancellor Merkel of Germany, President Moon expressed his appreciation for their consistent support and endorsement regarding the peace process on the Korean Peninsula.
President Moon said, “North Korea has halted nuclear and missile tests since November last year, demolished its nuclear test site in Punggye-ri and promised to dismantle its missile test site and launch pad in Dongchang-ri as well as even unveiled its intent to destroy its nuclear facility in Yeongbyeon, which can reprocess plutonium and produce enriched-uranium nuclear materials, should the United States take corresponding measures.” He went on to emphasize that “it is time for the international community to rally behind the U.N. Security Council and harness ideas about measures likely to induce the North to continue to take steps toward denuclearization.”
The Korea-U.K. summit lasted only 20 minutes as the British Prime Minister was scheduled to speak at the ASEM Summit. Therefore, President Moon had additional intensive talks for 15 minutes with Prime Minister May on the measures for denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula at the main conference hall following his talks with the leaders of Germany and Thailand.
President Moon emphasized once again to Prime Minister May, "Should North Korea advance its denuclearization to an extent that is irreversible, humanitarian assistance for and the easing of sanctions against the North would be necessary in this case. Discussions on such a process need to take place within the U.N. Security Council."
In reply, Prime Minister May said that President Moon had played a pivotal role in making progress concerning the North's denuclearization issue on the occasion of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics. The Prime Minister went on to say she was truly pleased that President Moon's efforts have given rise to a different situation and opportunities on the Korean Peninsula.
German Chancellor Merkel said that she was grateful to President Moon for his courage and determination, adding that she was pleased that progress had been made in the issue of denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula thanks to the determination of President Moon and U.S. President Donald Trump.
Prime Minister May and Chancellor Merkel shared their understanding with President Moon that concrete measures were needed to further expedite the substantive denuclearization of North Korea, stressing that it was also necessary for the North to take more tangible actions for complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization.
President Moon urged Chancellor Merkel to exempt Korean steel products from safeguard measures imposed by the European Union. The President also asked the Chancellor to take an interest in reducing Korea’s chronic trade deficit with Germany.
President Moon asked Thai Prime Minister Prayut for his support to ensure that the plan to hold the ASEAN-Korea Commemorative Summit in Seoul next year could be officially announced at the Korea-ASEAN Summit to be held in Singapore next month.
Prime Minister Prayut said that right before the ASEM Summit he had heard from the North Korean Ambassador to Thailand that President Moon and Chairman Kim Jong Un were having productive dialogues and making progress in promoting peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. The Prime Minister expressed his full support for the two leaders’ efforts.