SEOUL: The Republic of Korea is ready at anytime to facilitate a third Trump-Kim summit and ensure its success, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Thursday.
Speaking to senior editors of the Asia News Network on the eve of the network’s 20th anniversary, Moon said that he would do everything to ensure the success of any future meetings between the sitting US president and the chairman of North Korea.
"We have seen remarkable changes in the last year. Just 18 months ago there was much tension on the peninsula and genuine concern about the outbreak of war."
After three summits between the South and the North as well as two Trump-Kim summits, Moon says tensions have lessened and the possibility of peace and denuclearisation through dialogue is within reach.
Moon conceded that the Hanoi meeting between the President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un did not achieve what was expected, but said that he was ready to do what was necessary.
"I will be ready and [I am] looking forward to meeting Chairman Kim," Moon said.
Kim Jong Un is currently on a state visit to Russia and will, for the first time, meet Russian President Vladimir Putin. According to analysts, Putin is expected to push the North Korean leaders to restart six party talks aimed at a peaceful resolution to North Korea’s weapons program.
As one of its longest standing allies, Kim’s visit to Russia and his previous visits to China to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping are seen as attempts to shore up support as Kim continues his personal diplomacy with Moon and Trump.
Moon also revealed that in his latest visit to southeast Asia, Indonesian President Joko Widodo raised the possibility of inviting Kim Jong Un to a November summit between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Republic of Korea.
A meeting with the 10-member bloc and the DPRK would be an unprecedented recognition of Pyongyang’s attempts to normalise its foreign policy and a major step forward in Moon’s rapprochement of the north.
"Of course, such a meeting is not within [our] complete control," Moon told ANN. All the Asean members would first have to agree to such a meeting, and Kim would as well.
Moon said that some members of Asean seem receptive to the idea but the initiative has not been raised formally.
Several members enjoy good diplomatic relations with Pyongyang including Thailand, Cambodia, Singapore and Vietnam which hosted the Hanoi summit between Trump and Kim.
However, recent events, including the assassination of Kim Jong Un’s brother in a Kuala Lumpur airport has soured relations with Malaysia and may represent a speed bump to any possible meeting.