July 13, 2018 / 3:51 AM / in 4 months

South Korea's Moon urges North, U.S. to move forward on ending nuclear programme

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Friday urged North Korea and the United States to move forward on a pact to end Pyongyang’s nuclear programme, as a lack of firm steps by the North raised questions about its commitment to its pledge.

South Korea's President Moon Jae-in speaks at the ISEAS 42nd Singapore Lecture in Singapore July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Edgar Su

“If Chairman Kim (Jong Un) keeps the promise of denuclearisation, he will be able to lead his country into prosperity,” Moon said in a speech during a visit to Singapore.

“This path is never easy, but if the agreements at the summit are implemented with sincerity, the goal can be achieved,” he added, referring to Kim’s historic meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in the city state a month ago.

“If North Korea gives more substance on the implementation of denuclearisation, and if South Korea and the United States quickly take comprehensive corresponding measures, the whole process will accelerate.”

At the summit, the two leaders pledged to work towards complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and ease tension between their countries, still technically at war, since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

Since the June 12 meeting, however, Pyongyang has yet to show any sign of concrete action to dismantle its nuclear programme that has brought a series of U.N. and international sanctions against the impoverished state.

But Trump on Thursday hailed “great progress” after disclosing a July 6 note from Kim in which the North’s leader said their efforts could open up a “new future” for the two countries.

Moon said he believed Trump and Kim would eventually make good on the promise made before the international community.

“If the leaders do not honour the promise they themselves made with the international community watching, they will be subject to grave judgement,” he said.

South Korea is willing to build an economic community with its neighbour once the effort to root out Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions is completed, Moon said.

Reporting by Jack Kim; Writing by Aradhana Aravindan; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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