• KYODO, AFP-JIJI

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South Korean President Moon Jae In on Tuesday urged the United States and North Korea to hold talks toward denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, while stressing the need for inter-Korean dialogue on the matter.

In a speech addressed to the U.N. General Assembly, Moon said, “Peace on the Korean Peninsula begins always with dialogue and cooperation. I call for speedy resumption of dialogue between the two Koreas and between the United States and North Korea.”

At their first summit in 2018 in Singapore, then U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un agreed on Washington providing security guarantees to Pyongyang in return for “complete” denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

The following year, they held their second summit in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi but fell short of bridging the gap between U.S. demands and North Korea’s calls for sanctions relief.

Although Trump and Kim subsequently met in 2019 at the Demilitarized Zone dividing the two Koreas, bilateral negotiations have been at a standstill, even after President Joe Biden took office earlier this year.

Moon also called on North Korea to “brace for changes that befit the era of global community,” saying he expects the international community to “remain always ready and willing to reach out to North Korea in a cooperative spirit.”

During his speech in New York, the South Korean president named China as a potential partner to declare a formal end to the Korean War, along with the two Koreas and the United States.

The United States and North Korea are still technically in a state of war, as the 1950-1953 Korean War ended in a ceasefire rather than a peace treaty.

Last week, North Korea fired “two short-range ballistic missiles” from South Pyongan province into the sea off its east coast, Seoul said.

They came hours before South Korea successfully test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile, becoming only the seventh country in the world with the advanced technology and raising the prospect of a regional arms race.

In his U.N. address, Moon did not mention Japan, a key U.S. ally involved in a trilateral framework with the United States and South Korea in dealing with North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats.

Relations between Tokyo and Seoul have been strained in recent years over wartime compensation and other issues under Moon’s presidency.

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