SINGAPORE: South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Friday (Jul 13) urged North Korea and the United States to move forward on a pact to end Pyongyang's nuclear programme, as a lack of firm steps by the North raised questions about its commitment to its pledge.
South Korea is willing to build an economic community with North Korea once the effort to root out Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions is completed, Moon said in a speech during a visit to Singapore.
"If Chairman Kim (Jong Un) keeps the promise of denuclearisation, he will be able to lead his country into prosperity," Moon said.
"This path is never easy, but if the agreements at the summit are implemented with sincerity, the goal can be achieved," he added, referring to Kim's meeting with US President Donald Trump at Sentosa last month.
"The Korean government will work to establish a peace regime as early as possible so that economic cooperation can begin."
At the summit in Singapore, the two leaders pledged to work towards complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and ease tension between their countries, still technically at war, since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.
Since the Jun 12 meeting, however, Pyongyang has yet to show any sign of concrete action to dismantle its nuclear programme that has brought a series of United Nations and international sanctions against the impoverished state.
But Trump on Thursday hailed "great progress" after disclosing a Jul 6 note from Kim in which the North's leader said their efforts could open up a "new future" for the two countries.
Moon said he believed Trump and Kim would eventually make good on the promise made before the international community.
"If the leaders do not honour the promise they themselves made with the international community watching, they will be subject to grave judgment," he said.
SOUTH KOREA AND ASEAN CAN PARTNER FOR PEACE
During his lecture, Moon said South Korea and ASEAN can advance each others' needs and interests, as ASEAN is not only a trading partner and investment destination for South Korea, but also a partner to create "a community of peace".
ASEAN is currently South Korea's second-largest trading partner.
ASEAN can also play a constructive role in bringing stability and prosperity to the Korean Peninsula and the region, something South Korea "craves more than anyone else", he said.
"No country is more desperately in need of peace than Korea. It lost everything to war and has always been haunted by the threat of another war while enduring considerable pain," said Moon.
He also expressed hope in continued support from Singapore and ASEAN for the peace process.
"If North Korea sincerely carries out denuclearisation measures, I hope it can be brought to participate the many meeting mechanisms of ASEAN, and bilateral exchanges and cooperation between ASEAN and the North can be strengthened. It is necessary to create opportunities for North Korea to fulfil its role as a responsible member of the international community."
Meanwhile, Moon looks to developing relations with ASEAN to the same level as his country's relations with the major powers, such as the United States and China, he said.