Moon lauds North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear offer

TOKYO • South Korean President Moon Jae-in praised North Korea’s offer to dismantle a key nuclear production complex as an “irreversible” step to undercut its weapons programme, breaking with the Trump administration.

In a meeting to discuss the summit last week in Hanoi between US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, Moon yesterday lauded North Korea’s offer to dismantle the Yongbyon nuclear complex.

He also called for pushing ahead with inter-Korean projects currently hindered by sanctions and said the two sides discussed the “partial” lifting of sanctions — backing North Korea’s version of events.

“It would represent an irreversible stage in North Korea’s denuclearisation if the Yongbyon nuclear complex including its plutonium

reprocessing facilities and uramium enrichment facilities are completely dismantled,” Moon told senior aides yesterday at a National Security Council meeting.

Trump and US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said they couldn’t accept the proposal from North Korea to shut down the complex in return for complete sanctions relief because the regime still had hidden production facilities and missiles elsewhere that could threaten the US.

“We hope the two countries would continue dialogue and the two leaders would meet again soon to reach an agreement that has been delayed this time,” Moon said at the meeting.

Moon also again asked his staff and ministers to speed up agreed-to inter-Korean projects. — Bloomberg