In a televised news conference Wednesday, South Korea President Moon Jae-in commended President Donald Trump for his role in recent improvements to relations between North and South Korea.
“I think President Trump deserves big credit for bringing about the inter-Korean talks, and I want to show my gratitude,” Moon told reporters in Seoul. “It could be a resulting work of the U.S.-led sanctions and pressure.”
Moon unequivocally expressed unity between U.S. and South Korea.
“There is no difference in our opinions with the U.S., which is why the U.S. is fully supporting (Tuesday’s) talks, expressing their wish this can help resolve the North Korea nuclear issue,” Moon said.
According to the BBC, Moon also addressed North Korea directly, warning that good relations between North and South Korea depend on the cessation of weapons tests.
“This initial round of talks is for the improvement of relations between North and South Korea,” he said. “Our task going forward is to draw North Korea to talks aimed at the denuclearization of the North. That is our basic stance, and that will never be given up.”
Tuesday’s watershed talks marked the first governmental discourse in more two years. While relieved by the recent improvements, President Moon emphasized the importance of substantial dialogue, noting that talks alone will not suffice. He added the talks by no means indicate absolute resolve, especially were they to become “talks for the sake of talks,” and that, if North Korea resorts to “provocations again or does not show sincerity in resolving this issue, the international community will continue applying strong pressure and sanctions.”
Moon expressed willingness to meet with North Korea President Kim Jong Un, although he clarified that “to hold a summit, the right conditions must be created and certain outcomes must be guaranteed.”
Moon’s commendations stand in opposition to recent castigations of Trump’s fire-and-fury rhetoric, which Trump himself has lauded as pivotal to inter-Korean relations.
During a news conference at Camp David Saturday, Trump addressed his role in the conflict directly: “Sure, I always believe in talking, but we have a very firm stance. Look, our stance, you know what it is. We’re very firm. But I would be, absolutely I would do that. I don’t have a problem with that at all.”
“[Kim] knows I’m not messing around,” Trump added. “I’m not messing around. Not even a little bit. Not even one percent. He understands that. At the same time, if we can come up with a very peaceful and very good solution, we’re working on it … with a lot of people.”
Trump also expressed similar sentiment in a Jan. 4 tweet.
With all of the failed “experts” weighing in, does anybody really believe that talks and dialogue would be going on between North and South Korea right now if I wasn’t firm, strong and willing to commit our total “might” against the North. Fools, but talks are a good thing!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 4, 2018