Moon: Too early for Korean summit

South Korean President Moon Jae-in speaks to journalists at the 2018 Winter Olympics media centre in Pyeongchang on Saturday. (AP Photo)

PYEONGCHANG: South Korean President Moon Jae-in says it is too early to think about a summit with North Korea despite the recent outbreak of Olympic-driven goodwill.

Moon last week received an invitation from North Korean leader Kim Jong-un for a summit in Pyongyang. It was extended by his sister Kim Yo-jong, who visited as part of a high-level delegation to attend the Winter Games.

“There are high hopes for a North-South summit but I think it is a bit rushed,” Moon told reporters in Pyeongchang during a visit to the main media centre on Saturday.

“We have a Korean saying (about acting prematurely), which is ‘looking for hot water beside the well‘,” he added.

The North is subject to multiple sets of UN Security Council sanctions over its banned nuclear and ballistic missile programmes and conducted dozens of weapons test last year.

But the Winter Olympics have featured images of Moon and Kim Yo-jong cheering a unified Korean women‘s ice hockey team, enjoying a concert and dining together.

Moon acknowledged that the “Peace Olympics” had highlighted the need for engagement between Washington and Pyongyang.

“The general consensus on the need for dialogue between the US and North Korea is gradually increasing,” he said.

“We are waiting for the current inter-Korean talks to lead to dialogue between the US and North Korea, and to denuclearisation.”

Washington insists that Pyongyang must take concrete steps toward denuclearisation before any talks can begin, while Moon has long argued for closer involvement to bring it to the negotiating table.

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