By Sohn JiAe
Photos∙Video = Cheong Wa Dae
“Let’s meet without any formality.”
The May 26 Inter-Korean Summit was made possible after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s unexpected request and it has reignited the faltered dialogue with North Korea, after the abrupt cancellation of high-level inter-Korean meetings and then a U.S.-North Korea summit.
“In the afternoon the day before yesterday, May 25, Chairman Kim conveyed his wishes to meet me without any formality, and I readily agreed,” said President Moon in a press briefing at Cheong Wa Dae on May 27 to personally announce the outcome of the meeting.
Kim’s intention to revive the stagnated dialogue about denuclearization after U.S. President Donald Trump announced his cancellation of the highly-anticipated Washington-Pyeongyang summit on May 24 has led to what Kim called “a meeting without any formality” on the northern side of Panmunjeom.
Prior to Kim’s request on May 25 for another inter-Korean summit, Kim Kye Gwan, a top official at the North Korean foreign ministry, said in comments published on May 25 that, “We are willing to sit face-to-face with the U.S. at any time and in any way to resolve our issues.” In response, President Trump commented on his personal Twitter feed that, “Very good news to receive the warm and productive statement from North Korea,” leaving many hopeful for the possibility of reinstating the planned June 12 summit.
What sparked the reinstatement of U.S.-North Korea dialogue was a surprise meeting for the second time between President Moon and Chairman Kim.
Amid uncertainty about whether or not the Singapore summit would be held, President Moon took advantage of the unexpected meeting with Kim and played the role of intermediary between the U.S. and the North.
In the second Panmunjeom summit, President Moon delivered a message from President Trump that Trump has the firm resolve to put an end to hostility against North Korea and to work for economic cooperation with the North if the regime decisively chooses complete denuclearization and puts it into action. He also confirmed Kim’s commitment to complete denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula if he secures peace and prosperity in the region.
“I’m delivering to both sides what they really want from each other and urging them to confirm their willingness to pursue direct dialogue,” said President Moon.
In line with the second Inter-Korean Summit, President Trump, too, tweeted on the day of the summit that, “We are having very productive talks with North Korea about reinstating the summit,” which literally formalized the reinstatement of the Singapore summit.
Many commentators say that President Moon’s involvement has been the deciding factor that has helped to get the stalled dialogue between President Trump and Chairman Kim back on track.
Major news outlets from around the world made favorable comments about President Moon’s role, such as, “In an effort to salvage an almost-scrapped summit between North Korea and the U.S., South Korean President Moon once again played his mediating role to defuse what he called ‘little difficulties.'," from ABC News and, "The only person who can pick the ball from the net is President Moon, because he can connect the two sides and he doesn’t have to keep his pride over it," from the Washington Post.