Moon says world needs to show N. Korea made 'right' decision
PARIS -- The international community needs to prove that North Korea has made the right decision to give up its nuclear ambition, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Sunday, apparently stressing the need to start easing international sanctions against the communist state.
"As North Korea stands before the world after voluntarily coming out of its isolation, now it is the international community's turn to answer North Korea's tough decision and efforts," Moon said in a written interview with France's daily newspaper Le Figaro.
Moon arrived here Saturday on a four-day state visit. It follows his recent trip to Pyongyang for his third and latest summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
The North Korean leader committed to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in his first meeting with Moon held in April, then reiterated this position in his historic summit with US President Donald Trump in June.
The denuclearization process, however, nearly halted after the US president called off a scheduled North Korea trip by his top diplomat, Mike Pompeo, citing what he called a lack of progress in that process.
The United States has agreed to resume its denuclearization talks with the North shortly after Moon's Pyongyang summit with Kim.
Still, many believe the US-North Korea talks may again hit a stumbling block as Pyongyang seeks early rewards for its denuclearization steps while Washington insists on maximum pressure and sanctions against the North until it fully denuclearizes.
"The world needs to show that Chairman Kim's decision to denuclearize was the right decision, and it must lead North Korea to the path of concrete and lasting peace," Moon said in the interview marking his first-ever trip to Paris.
The South Korean president is set to hold a bilateral summit with French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday.
Moon said he planned to discuss ways to expand cooperation between his country and France to help ensure peace not only on the Korean Peninsula but for the entire world.
"The process to establish peace on the Korean Peninsula is only beginning, and it will not be an easy journey," the chief executive pointed out.
Earlier, the South Korean president stressed the importance of cooperation with France, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, in promoting and accelerating the North's denuclearization process.
Moon is currently on a four-nation tour that will later take him to Italy, where he is also scheduled to make an official visit to the Vatican.
The president said he will ask for Pope Francis' support and prayers for peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula when they meet on Thursday.
"I wish to ask the Pope for his continued support for peace and reconciliation on the Korean Peninsula so that such efforts may also lead to global peace," he said. (Yonhap)