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S Korea's Moon wants more talks on nukes

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January 10, 2018

North and South Korea have held rare talks while reinstating a military hotline.

South Korea's president says he's open to meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un if certain conditions are met, as he vowed to push for more talks with the North to resolve the nuclear standoff.

President Moon Jae-in spoke of a potential summit a day after the two Koreas held their first high-level meeting in about two years and agreed to co-operate in next month's Winter Olympics in South Korea.

They agreed North Korea will send a delegation of officials, athletes and others to the February Games and they plan talks later on reducing tensions along their border.

"I keep myself open to any meeting including the summit (with North Korea) if it's helpful for an improvement of South-North relations or a settlement of the North Korean nuclear issue," Moon told reporters.

"But to have the summit, some conditions must be established. I think a certain level of success must be guaranteed."

Moon reaffirmed that the denuclearisation of the peninsula remains a basic and indispensable goal of his government.

He denied the way of open dialogue with Pyongyang goes against the strategy of pressuring Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear program.

"Now the dialogue with North Korea has begun, but because the North Korean nuclear issue has not been resolved, South Korea will continue to keep pace with the pressure and sanctions by the international community," he said.

Moon also said "once the South-North Korean relations are improved, they can help resolve the North Korean nuclear issue."

Tuesday's accord was reached after Kim Jong-un made an abrupt push for improved ties with South Korea following a year of escalating tensions with the outside world over his expanding nuclear and missile programs.

Moon also said Tuesday's talks may have been the result of the US-led policy of sanctions and pressure, in a nod of approval to the Trump administration's tough strategy.

Critics say Kim may be trying to divide Seoul and Washington in a bid to weaken international pressure and sanctions on the North.

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