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Pyongyang to host summit with S. Korea on Sept. 18-20

AFP-Jiji SEOUL (AFP-Jiji) — The leaders of the two Koreas will hold a summit in Pyongyang in September, Seoul said Thursday, as Kim Jong Un renewed his commitment to the denuclearization of the flashpoint peninsula.

The announcement of the Sept. 18-20 summit — the third between the North’s leader Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae In this year — comes as U.S. efforts to dismantle Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal have stalled.

The two leaders will meet in the North Korean capital to discuss “practical measures to denuclearize” the peninsula, South Korean National Security Advisor Chung Eui Yong told reporters.

Chung on Wednesday flew to Pyongyang where he handed over a personal letter from Moon to Kim, as Seoul seeks to kick-start the diplomacy that led to the landmark June summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader.

The two pledged to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula at the Singapore meeting but no details were agreed, and Washington and Pyongyang have sparred since on what that means and how it will be achieved.

However, in his meeting with Chung, Kim renewed his commitment to that goal, North Korean state media said Thursday.

The two Koreas “should further their efforts to realize the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” Kim was quoted as saying by KCNA.

“It is our fixed stand ... to completely remove the danger of armed conflict and horror of war from the Korean Peninsula and turn it into the cradle of peace without nuclear weapons and free from nuclear threat.”

The pledge comes after Trump, frustrated with a lack of progress on disarmament, last month canceled Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s trip to Pyongyang after the North reportedly sent a belligerent letter to the U.S. leader.

Stephen Biegun, newly appointed U.S. envoy for the North, said last month Kim had promised “final, fully verified denuclearization” at the Singapore summit.

But Pyongyang has slammed Washington for its “gangster-like” demands for complete, verifiable and irreversible disarmament.

Kim emphasized that his “trust in Trump remains unchanged” despite the difficulties, Chung said, and expressed his intention to work closely with the United States to achieve denuclearization “in the first official term of President Trump.”

But the North Korean leader also expressed a “sense of frustration” with the international community for not appreciating what he called Pyongyang’s “very significant and meaningful” steps, Chung said.Speech

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