U.S. President Donald Trump said Monday that Pyongyang is sticking to its summit agreement with Washington despite there being no easing of sanctions, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in expressed hope for another summit between the two sides.
"If I weren't president you would be in a war with North Korea right now," Trump told reporters, with Moon seated next to him, just ahead of their summit in New York.
He reiterated that he's "getting along very well" with North Korea. "I have good relationship with Kim Jong-un," he said, adding there's no need or reason to consider "actions" against Pyongyang.
|South Korean President Moon Jae-in (L) shakes hands with U.S. President Donald Trump during their New York meeting on Sept. 23, 2019. (Yonhap)|
"There's been no lessening of the sanctions. There's only been an increasing of the sanctions," he added.
He played down the North's recent firing of short-range missiles and what it claims to be artillery rockets.
"We have discussed nuclear testing and other things. And frankly and he has lived up to his word on those things," Trump said. "We didn't have agreement on short range missiles. A lot of people and a lot of countries test short range missiles, there is nothing spectacular about that."
Asked about the possibility of another meeting with Kim, he said, "We will see. Right now people like to see that happen. I want to know what is going to be coming out of it."
Trump and Kim have met each other three times -- first in Singapore last year and then in Hanoi early this year. They also had spontaneous talks at the truce village of Panmunjom inside the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) bisecting the Korean Peninsula at the end of June.
The U.S. has not formally characterized the Panmunjom event as a summit, instead calling it a meeting.
Moon agreed that Trump has contributed to the Korean Peninsula peace process.
"Your visit to Panmunjom will go down as a historic moment that embodied peace through action. And I have to say that I always marvel at your imagination and bold decision-making," Moon told Trump.
Moon said the U.S. and North Korea are expected to resume working-level nuclear talks soon, which are likely to lead to a third full summit between Kim and Trump.
Moon said of the prospective summit, "I hope that this will go down as a truly historic moment in world history. This will be a great achievement that equals a great transformation in terms of the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."
He added South Korea-U.S. relations are developing as a "great alliance" as well.
"Especially in the economic field, we have been able to revise a bilateral free trade agreement, and that has been a great success, while many Korean companies are increasing their investment in America," he said.
He said he was looking forward to "frank discussions" with Trump on various ways to strengthen the alliance.
Trump added, "We will be talking about purchase of equipment. South Korea is one of our largest purchasers of military equipment." (Yonhap)
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