Moon, Kim visit 'sacred' Mount Paektu

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The United States appeared eager to seize on commitments by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at his talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in even as critics said the steps did little to put Pyongyang on a course for irreversible denuclearisation.

The leaders of North and South Korea have wrapped up their third summit this year with a vow to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.

Kim, who recently proposed another summit with Trump after their unprecedented June talks in Singapore, said the North was willing to "permanently dismantle" key missile facilities in the presence of outside experts, and the Yongbyon main nuclear complex, if the U.S. took corresponding action.

"A peace treaty would be sealed, as well as normalization of North Korea-U.S. relations, after the North achieves complete denuclearization".

Mr Pompeo cited North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's decision to "complete the previously announced dismantlement of the Tongchang-ri site in the presence of USA and worldwide inspectors as a step toward the final fully verified denuclearisation of North Korea".

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While North Korea has stopped nuclear and missile tests in the past year, it did not allow global inspections of its dismantling of its Punggye-ri nuclear test site in May, drawing criticism that its action was for show and could be reversed. He said he would discuss with Trump his and Kim's goal of declaring an end to the Korean War by the end of this year. Speaking of the need for North Korea to take denuclearization measures, Moon said "the USA should accordingly take corresponding measures to guarantee the security of North Korea step by step".

The hope is that it will kickstart talks between the United States and North Korea which have stalled.

But it left open a burning question: Will the concessions North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is offering be enough to persuade the meet any of his demands?

Kim and Trump held a historic and high-profile meeting in Singapore in June, where the North's leader committed to work towards denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, but no details were agreed.

It also was unclear what "corresponding steps" North Korea wants from the United States to dismantle its nuclear site.

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Mount Baektu is considered the most sacred and the symbolic mountain of the Korean nation. They also toured the shores of the lake, where Moon and his wife filled bottles with its water and a South Korean pop singer delivered for the leaders a rendition of a beloved Korean folk song, "Arirang", which is used in both Koreas as an unofficial anthem for peace.

The two couples take a cable vehicle to Mount Paektu in North Korea. It is a very meaningful outcome.

Moon also spoke directly to the North Korean public, describing a peaceful future to an audience of some 150,000 people.

None of this is to say North Korean denuclearization is an impossibility, or that we may not see advances more dramatic than the liaison office soon.

He said he was also willing to close the country's main nuclear complex - but only if the United States took unspecified reciprocal action. He also set a January 2021 deadline for North Korea's denuclearization. South Korea and the United States remain technically at war with North Korea because the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice and not a peace treaty.

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