Seoul: Major global powers welcomed Friday’s historic inter-Korean summit, urging both sides to maintain the momentum that has seen a dramatic easing of tension on the peninsula.
At the first summit between the Koreas in more than a decade, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in, pledged to work for the “complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.”
“Korean war ends”
The two sides said they would work with the United States and China to declare an official end to the 1950-1953 Korean War and seek an agreement to establish “permanent” and “solid” peace in place of an armistice.
In early tweets from Washington, Trump praised the meeting even as he raised questions about how long the positive diplomacy would last.
“Good things are happening, but only time will tell!,” he tweeted, adding in another, “KOREAN WAR TO END! The United States, and all of its GREAT people, should be very proud of what is now taking place in Korea!”
China urges more dialogue
China, North Korea’s main ally and wary of being sidelined amid the thaw between the rival Koreas and upcoming summit between Trump and Kim, said it was willing to continue playing a role in resolving the decades-long standoff between the rival Koreas over the North’s nuclear and missile programmes.
Kim made a dramatic surprise visit last month to Beijing, where he met with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.
China “hopes all relevant sides can maintain the momentum for dialogue and work together to promote the denuclearisation of the peninsula and the process for the political settlement of the peninsula issue,” China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“China is willing to continue playing a proactive role in this regard,” it added.
Kremlin hails direct talks
In Moscow, the Kremlin hailed the summit as very positive news and said President Vladimir Putin had long advocated direct talks between the two countries.
“This is very positive news,” Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman told reporters.
“Today we see that this direct dialogue has taken place [and] it has certain prospects,” he said.
“The will to seek agreement can be seen on both sides, including the most important thing – the will to begin and continue dialogue. That is a positive fact,” Dmitry Peskov said.
Asked about the prospect of Trump also meeting the North Korean leader, Kremlin spokesman Peskov said that Moscow welcomed any steps that would ease tensions on the Korean peninsula.
Japan demands concrete steps
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he “strongly” hoped Pyongyang would take concrete steps to carry out its promises to pursue denuclearisation.
“I will keep a close watch on North Korea’s future conduct,” Abe told reporters.
Asked if he was concerned that Japan might be left out of the denuclearisation process, Abe said, “Absolutely not. I talked with President Trump for more than 11 hours just a while ago and reached a complete agreement on our action, effort and basic policy.”
UK: Good news
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is welcoming the summit between the two Koreas but says he doesn’t expect any great breakthrough that might curb North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.
Johnson told reporters at NATO headquarters Friday, “I am very encouraged by what’s happening.”
He said, “I don’t think that anybody looking at the history of North Korea’s plans to develop a nuclear weapon would want to be over-optimistic at this point. But it is clearly good news that the two leaders are meeting. Absolutely.”
NATO: Encouraging first step
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg also hailed the summit as “encouraging”, but warned of more challenges ahead.