Saudi Arabia vows to help S. Korea if oil supply disrupted

A woman looks at North Korea through binoculars from the unification observatory in Paju South Korea on Sunday

A woman looks at North Korea through binoculars from the unification observatory in Paju South Korea on Sunday

The United States and North Korea are holding "behind-the-scenes talks" on the possibility of a third summit, President Moon Jae-in said in remarks released Wednesday.

North Korea has pursued nuclear and missile programmes for years in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions and sanctions.

He told the North's official KCNA news agency: "This is a manifestation of the most extreme hostile acts by the US". The approach, favored by North Korea, involves matching each of Pyongyang's denuclearization steps with some corresponding reward until full dismantlement of its nuclear program is completed. The court ordered Japanese steelmaker Nippon Steel to pay damages - the same verdict reached previous year at South Korea's Supreme Court.

He said such progress will also enable the global community to consider easing sanctions on the regime.

The top United States diplomat told reporters this week the resumption of working-level talks with the North was becoming "a very real possibility", adding: "Some 80-plus per cent of the North Korean economy is sanctioned".

Moon said he didn't see the summit as a failure but as a chance for the two leaders to build a foundation of understanding.

"Japan demanded a fundamental solution to Korea, so we made a proposal", the senior Blue House official said.

"As a partner of the Vision 2030 project, South Korea will expand cooperation with Saudi Arabia to the areas of information and communications technology, smart infrastructure, defense, health and medicine and others beyond the traditional cooperation on energy and construction", Moon said.

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Both Trump and Kim have said they'd be willing to meet again, but neither side has given any public indication that they've been able to bridge the gap that was exposed in Hanoi.

The two Koreas signed a comprehensive military agreement last September during Moon's visit to Pyongyang for his third summit with the North's leader, Kim Jong-un.

During the summit talks, President Moon expressed hope the bilateral relationship would take a leap forward on the occasion of the crown prince's visit to South Korea, the first by an heir to the throne of the world's largest oil exporter since 1998.

The official also warned it would be hard to achieve denuclearization as long as U.S. politics were dominated by policymakers who had an "inveterate antagonism" toward North Korea.

Moon didn't elaborate whether US and North Korean officials had face-to-face meetings and if so where they took place.

Einhorn said step-by-step denuclearization talks need to take place within working-level meetings initiated by a presidential letter.

Pyongyang and Washington, he continued, will need to decide at what stage both sides can describe North Korea as "having reached an irreversible stage" of denuclearization. Dismantling Yongbyon is too small a step to generate a meaningful reward from the US, according to Einhorn.

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