The Latest: South Korea president leaves for North Korea
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The Latest on summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in (all times local):
South Korean President Moon Jae-in has left for Pyongyang for his third summit of the year with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Moon’s plane left a military airport near Seoul for Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, on Tuesday morning.
Moon is to meet Kim later Tuesday and again on Wednesday during a three-day trip.
The main focus is to see whether Moon can set up talks between Pyongyang and Washington to salvage stalled nuclear diplomacy.
Moon’s trip makes him the third South Korean leader to visit Pyongyang for an inter-Korean summit.
Moon has met Kim twice this year, but each time at the Koreas’ border village of Panmunjom.
A group of about 150 business, sports, entertainment and government leaders streamed onto the plane before Moon’s departure.
North Korea says the summit between leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in will offer an important opportunity in “further accelerating the development” in relations between the rivals.
North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency published the statement on Tuesday hours before the Korean leaders were expected to meet in Pyongyang for their third summit this year amid a global diplomatic push to resolve the nuclear standoff.
The summit will likely be a crucial indicator of how the larger nuclear negotiations with the United States will proceed. Talks between Washington and Pyongyang have sputtered in recent weeks, raising doubts about Kim’s supposed willingness to relinquish his nuclear arsenal and putting the pressure on Moon to broker progress once again.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Monday that he will push for “irreversible, permanent peace” and for better dialogue between Pyongyang and Washington, during “heart-to-heart” talks with Kim.