Moon eyes trilateral summit among 2 Koreas and US

British Amb. to South Korea Simon Smith holds a press conference at his official residence in central Seoul

Moon said the summit must lead to a complete resolution of North Korea's nuclear program and peace on the Korean Peninsula.

"And depending on their outcomes, they may lead to a three-way summit of South, North and US", Mr Moon said at a meeting in the presidential Blue House in Seoul to prepare for a forthcoming inter-Korean meeting. The Japan-chaired meeting would be the first of its kind for both Moon and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, and presumably would focus on North Korea's nuclear weapons and missile development.

He spoke about plans for a summit between North Korea and the USA after the inter-Korean talks.

He also said a trilateral summit would help pave the way for multilateral talks involving other nations such as China, Japan and Russian Federation on the North's nuclear issues.

Moon also highlighted the importance of a potential summit in terms of shaping the future for the three nations. "It requires a US guarantee, and that would require normalisation of the North-US relationship or even economic cooperation between the two", said Moon.

North Korea's state media say the country's moves to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula are evidence of its confidence and national strength, not a sign of weakness.

A source close to South Korea's presidential office said if the inter-Korean summit and the US-North Korea summit go well, Moon wants to meet with the other leaders to confirm what they have agreed.

"Holding a North Korea-US summit after an inter-Korean summit itself is a historical event". It says regular joint military drills with South Korea and the United States are proof that the U.S. has hostile intentions, and a slanging match between Mr Trump and Mr Kim has exacerbated tensions.

Moon said that any agreement with North Korea would need to be ratified in parliament so that it could not be affected by a future change in the South Korean leadership.

Historically, relations have been problematic - both Koreas were at war from 1950-1953. Japan probably would hold bilateral talks with China and South Korea around the same time.

Seoul recently revealed that it still views the long-stalled six-party talks as a viable framework to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue.

Meanwhile, North Korea broke its silence about its tenuous relationship with the USA in its state media, warning hard-liners in Seoul and Washington against trying to "spoil the atmosphere".

It also denied speculation that heavy sanctions against its regime pushed the country to the negotiation table, blaming officials in the USA and Japan, as well as conservatives in South Korea for "distorting the truth".

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