President Moon Jae-in called for ambitious but restrained efforts on Wednesday to ensure the success of his upcoming summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, saying the meeting will only mark the first step in what he called a great transition toward peace.
"Right now, we are standing at the starting line of a long journey toward peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula. We are about to embark on a great transition of complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, lasting peace and sustainable development of South-North Korean relations in the history of the world," the president said while meeting with members of a preparation committee for the upcoming inter-Korean summit.
The meeting at his office Cheong Wa Dae marked the fifth of its kind since the divided Koreas agreed early last month to hold the summit. The date for what will be a third inter-Korean summit has been set at April 27.
Moon stressed the need for firm determination, but also restraints, to realize the great change that he said no one has been able to achieve so far.
"It is a goal dreamt by everyone but realized by no one. We need extraordinary determination and confidence to go beyond division and confrontation and write a new history," he said, according to Cheong Wa Dae pool reports.
"However, I ask you to work with the goal of laying a strong stepping stone for restoring the South-North relationship and ensuring peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula through the upcoming summit rather than working with too great a desire to resolve all problems at once," the president told the meeting.
The president also highlighted the importance of his upcoming talks with Kim, which will likely be followed by the first-ever U.S.-North Korea summit in May or early June.
"The North-U.S. summit will have great significance in the history of the world by its very opening itself," the president said, noting that the United States and the North are already engaged in discussions to set the date, place and topics for their bilateral summit.
"I expect there to be a great outcome of taking a big step toward the establishment of lasting peace and peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula as the two countries are preparing for their summit with determination. We must work to play the role of a great guide so the South-North Korea summit will lead to success in the North-U.S. summit," he said.