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Korean Leaders Meet in Pyongyang for Potentially Tough Talks

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — South Korean President Moon Jae-in began his third summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday with possibly his hardest mission to date — brokering some kind of compromise to keep North Korea’s talks with Washington from imploding and pushing ahead with his own plans to expand economic cooperation and bring a stable peace to the Korean Peninsula.

Kim gave the South Korean president an exceedingly warm welcome, meeting him and his wife at Pyongyang’s airport — itself a very unusual gesture — then riding into town with Moon in an open limousine through streets lined with crowds of North Koreans, who cheered and waved the flag of their country and a blue-and-white flag that symbolizes Korean unity.

At the start of their meeting, Kim thanked Moon for brokering a June summit with U.S. President Donald Trump.

“It’s not too much to say that it’s Moon’s efforts that arranged a historic North Korea-U.S. summit. Because of that, the regional political situation has been stabilized and more progress on North Korea-U.S. ties is expected,” Kim said, according to South Korean media pool reports and Moon’s office.

The results of the talks weren’t immediately available. Seoul officials earlier said they would focus on how to achieve denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, decrease military tensions along their border and improve overall ties. The North’s media said the talks would reaffirm their commitment to Korean peace, unity and prosperity.

During a conversation at the Paekhwawon guest house where Moon was to stay, Kim said North Koreans hope diplomacy will yield positive results. “I think it was our people’s wish that we come up with good results as fast as we can,” Kim said, according to the media pool reports.

Moon responded that “Our hearts are fluttering, but at the same we have heavy hearts,” and added, “We have built trust and friendship between us, so I think all will be well.”

The two are to meet again on Wednesday.

 

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