South Korean president: North, US must ‘pull back their deep-rooted mutual distrust’

South Korean president: North, US must ‘pull back their deep-rooted mutual distrust’
© Getty Images

South Korean President Moon Jae-in called on the U.S. and North Korea to “make bold decisions” and continue their negotiations on Pyongyang’s denuclearization despite an apparent recent lull in progress.

“North Korea must carry out its nuclear dismantling and the United States must take a corresponding step. Under such a process, the two countries must pull back their deep-rooted mutual distrust caused by their 70 years of hostile relations,” Moon said Tuesday during a cabinet meeting, according to the Associated Press

The comments come days ahead of a meeting between Moon and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that Moon said must produce a “big step” toward denuclearization.

Kim and President TrumpDonald John TrumpHannity urges Trump not to fire 'anybody' after Rosenstein report Ben Carson appears to tie allegation against Kavanaugh to socialist plot Five takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate MORE met in Singapore in June to discuss denuclearization.

North Korea has not tested any missiles or nuclear weapons, has released three U.S. citizens held in its prisons and has returned what the White House says are the remains of fallen service members from the Korean War since the summit.

However, North Korea has not made any substantive advances toward dismantling its nuclear stockpile. 

Trump also abruptly canceled a trip last month by Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoPositive Moon-Kim summit creates a diplomatic opening in North Korea The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh, accuser say they’re prepared to testify Haley wasn’t invited to key White House meeting on refugee policy: report MORE to Pyongyang, citing a lack of progress.

“I have asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo not to go to North Korea, at this time, because I feel we are not making sufficient progress with respect to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula...” he said.

However, a South Korean envoy to North Korea claimed last week that Kim said he intended to denuclearize before Trump’s first term is over in 2021. 

Trump welcomed the news, proclaiming, “We will get it done together!” 

The White House announced Monday that Kim has sent Trump a letter requesting a second summit and that planning for such a meeting was underway.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the letter is a sign Trump has “achieved tremendous success of his policy so far and the letter was further evidence of progress in that relationship."