President Moon Jae-in on Friday hailed the agreed-upon summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as a "historic milestone" for peace on the Korean Peninsula.
Moon made the remark through his spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom after Trump agreed to meet with the North's leader by May, accepting Kim's offer to meet as soon as possible. The envisioned meeting would be the first-ever between leaders of the two Cold War foes.
"The May meeting will be recorded as a historic milestone that realized peace on the Korean Peninsula," Moon said. "If President Trump and Chairman Kim meet following an inter-Korean summit, complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula will be put on the right track in earnest."
Moon also said he extends gratitude to Trump and Kim for their "courage and wisdom."
"In particular, the leadership of President Trump, who gladly accepted Chairman Kim's invitation, will receive praise not only from people in the South and the North but also from people around the world who wish for peace," Moon said.
"Our government will carefully handle this opportunity that came like a miracle," he said. "We will move things in a way that is faithful and careful but is not slow."
Moon also said he is grateful to other world leaders for their attention and interest in the issue.
In Washington earlier, South Korea's presidential national security adviser, Chung Eui-yong, conveyed the North Korean leader's meeting proposal to Trump while briefing Trump on the results of his meeting with the North's leader in Pyongyang on Monday.
During the briefing to Trump, Chung also quoted the North's leader as saying, "I will be able to produce a big outcome if I meet and talk to President Donald Trump," according to the presidential spokesman.
Chung also told Trump that Kim talked candidly and that he could sense Kim's sincerity.
"Of course, we have to make sure not to repeat the mistakes of the past, but I hope the U.S. will accept our judgment about Chairman Kim and not miss this opportunity. Chairman Kim wants to meet with President Trump as early as possible," Chung was quoted as telling Trump.
Spokesman Kim also said that Moon ordered the formation of a preparatory committee for a summit with the North, set for late April, and named his chief of staff, Im Jong-seok, to chair the committee.
"The key mission of the preparatory committee is to produce a substantial agreement at the April summit," the spokesman said, adding that members of the committee will also take part in high-level meetings with the North to set up the summit.
Hwi Won email@example.com