00:52 GMT +322 July 2019
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    FILE - In this June 12, 2018, file photo, U.S. President Donald Trump makes a statement before saying goodbye to North Korea leader Kim Jong Un after their meetings at the Capella resort on Sentosa Island in Singapore

    Seoul Needs More Leverage to Facilitate Talks Between US, N Korea - Adviser

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The United States should give South Korea more leverage in relations with North Korea if it wants Seoul to play a more active role in facilitating denuclearization talks, Moon Chung-in, a South Korean special presidential adviser for unification, said on Thursday.

    "The US should give some sort of leverage to Seoul such as a more flexible operation of inter-Korean economic exchange and cooperation," the adviser said, as quoted by the Yonhap news agency.

    Moon stressed it would be a "herculean task" for the South Korean leader to act as mediator, given that Pyongyang considered Seoul as Washington's ally.

    READ MORE: Trump Asked Kim to Transfer North Korea's Nukes, Fuel to US at Summit — Report

    The adviser expressed hope that President Moon would manage to agree with Trump on sanctions relief that could help to "reactivate" inter-Korean relations.

    "I think President Moon's primary concern will be some kind of relaxation of sanctions from the U.S…. There could be some exemptions for inter-Korean exchanges perhaps, including Mount Kumgang and the Kaesong complex," he said.

    His comment came exactly a week ahead of planned talks between US President Donald Trump and his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in, during which the two leaders are going to discuss bilateral relations and the latest developments around North Korea.

    North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Moon agreed back in September 2018, amid a thaw in inter-Korean relations, to reopen the joint Kaesong industrial complex, which was closed in 2016 over Seoul-Pyongyang tensions, and also to relaunch the previously suspended tourist programs envisaging trips to North Korea's Mount Kumgang.

    However, no specific steps have been made so far.

    READ MORE: US Forces-Korea Warns It's Ill-Prepared for Collapse of Diplomacy With DPRK

    Trump and Kim held their second summit in Hanoi in late February in an attempt to give the denuclearization process more momentum.

    The highly anticipated meeting failed to produce an accord. Negotiations fell apart after Pyongyang said it wanted Washington to lift all sanctions on the country before it started denuclearizing, while the United States could not agree.


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