S. Korean president vows joint efforts with France to build peace

Paris, South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Saturday vowed increased cooperation with France to address major global issues, such as climate change, while also stressing the need for joint efforts to denuclearise North Korea and establish lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.

"Day after tomorrow, I will hold a summit meeting with President Emmanuel Macron. (We) will hold in-depth discussions on key issues facing the international community, such as climate change, environment, terrorism and human rights, along with new growth strategies that will ensure the future," Moon said while meeting with some 200 South Korean residents in France, South Korean News Agency (Yonhap) reported.

The president arrived in Paris for a four-day state visit. An official welcome ceremony for Moon will be held Monday, followed by the Moon-Macron summit that will mark the second of its kind since both leaders took office last year.

Moon's trip here comes amid his efforts to further accelerate North Korea's denuclearisation process, which earlier hit a stumbling block after US President Donald Trump called off a scheduled North Korea trip by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, citing a lack of progress in the process.

Denuclearisation talks between the US and North Korea resumed shortly after Moon made his first-ever trip to Pyongyang last month for his third bilateral summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Still, how soon the North will actually give up its nuclear weapons remains unknown, Moon noted earlier, saying the issue needs to be discussed between the US and the North.

Pyongyang is said to be demanding timely rewards for denuclearisation steps it has already taken or promised to take in the near future, while Washington insists on maximum pressure and sanctions against the impoverished state until the country fully denuclearises.

"Most of all, I will ask France, which is a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a key member of the EU, to lend its support for denuclearisation and lasting peace of the Korean Peninsula," Moon said .

"I am confident a peaceful Korean Peninsula will soon come to us. I will build a Republic of Korea that you can be proud of," he added, referring to his country by its official name.

The South Korean president will head to Italy on Tuesday for official visits to the European state and the Vatican. He is currently on a four-nation tour that will also take him to Belgium for the biennial Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit.

Source: Bahrain News Agency