Ban Ki-moon urges N. Korea to take denuclearization steps

US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meet in Singapore in June 2018

US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meet in Singapore in June 2018

Kim's father and late leader, Kim Jong-il, saw his birthday designated as a national holiday in 1982 when he was 40, two years after he was anointed as successor to his father and national founder Kim Il-sung.

South Korea's Moon has facilitated a series of high-level talks between the United States and North Korea, including a summit between Trump and Kim in June, and has met Kim three times this year.

While the North has repeatedly stressed these reciprocal measures should involve relief from global sanctions, President Moon on Tuesday said he believed there were other ways for Washington to build trust.

The presumed birthday of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un remains unmarked in the North's calendars for 2019.

Moon, who is hoping to host Kim soon on the first ever trip to Seoul by a North Korean leader as agreed earlier this year, said Trump had asked him to pass on a message.

President Moon Jae-in met with New Zealand's main opposition leader on Monday during his state visit to the country and discussed ways to advance bilateral cooperation.

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"Mr President, I want to commend you again for your personal leadership over the a year ago to reduce tensions and establish a dialogue with North Korea", she said.

"There is a possibility that Chairman Kim Jong-un's visit to Seoul may be made within this year, but there's more important things than the timing", he said in translated remarks during a visit to New Zealand.

Ban said he hopes their second summit will occur at a time when the global community feels confident about North Korea's commitment to denuclearisation.

After sharply raising tensions with nuclear and missile tests previous year, Kim abruptly reached out to Moon and Trump with a vague nuclear disarmament pledge.

They agreed on the need for "maintaining vigorous enforcement of existing sanctions to ensure the DPRK understands that denuclearization is the only path", Sanders said, using the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Moon said a visit by Kim to the South would also improve US-North Korea relations as Kim and President Donald Trump look to follow up their June summit in Singapore. -North Korea summit, which Trump has said he hopes to hold with Kim in January or February. The two countries signed a free-trade deal in 2015. But both Moon and Trump say fears of war on the Korean Peninsula have eased sharply.

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