North Korean media hails summit with South

Josh Smith

North Korea's state news agency has called the inter-Korean summit a turning point for the Korean peninsula, while US President Donald Trump says he would maintain sanctions pressure on Pyongyang ahead of his own unprecedented meeting with Kim Jong Un.

The North's KCNA news agency on Saturday separately released the joint statement North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in presented on Friday after the first summit in more than a decade between the two Koreas.

Kim and Moon had pledged to work for "complete denuclearisation" of the Korean peninsula and agreed on a common goal of a "nuclear-free" peninsula.

"At the talks both sides had a candid and open-hearted exchange of views on the matters of mutual concern including the issues of improving the north-south relations, ensuring peace on the Korean Peninsula and the denuclearisation of the peninsula," KCNA said, reporting that the night wrapped up with a dinner with an "amicable atmosphere overflowing with feelings of blood relatives".

A day after the meeting between, South Korean media were replaying striking scenes of the two leaders and North Korea's main state newspaper published a multi-page spread with more than 60 photos from the visit.

On Saturday afternoon, North Korean state TV broadcast its first footage of the summit.

The declaration earned guarded but optimistic praise from world leaders, including Trump, who said on Friday that only time would tell, but that he did not think Kim was "playing".

Still, Trump told reporters, he would maintain pressure on North Korea and "not repeat the mistakes of past administrations".

On Saturday, Trump said on Twitter that he "just had a long and very good talk with President Moon of South Korea. Things are going very well, time and location of meeting with North Korea is being set."

Speaking on Saturday in Sydney, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull praised Trump's negotiations on North Korea and said he helped bring the two Korean leaders together.

"I have given him that credit because Donald Trump has taken a very, very strong, hard line on the denuclearisation issue and he has been able to bring in the support of the global community and, in particular, China," Turnbull said. "North Korea's economic relationship is overwhelmingly with China. And so China's preparedness to impose those sanctions has been the critical change that has put the economic pressure on North Korea."

Turnbull said the pressure from China and the US had brought Kim to the point of denuclearising the Korean peninsula.

"What we've now got to do is not relent on the economic pressure until that goal is achieved," he said.

Iran, facing a possible US exit from its nuclear deal with world powers, welcomed the inter-Korean summit, but said Washington was not a "qualified" partner in the negotiations.

"The US government is not a credible actor, doesn't comply with its international obligations and doesn't qualify to take part in arrangements between countries," Qasemi added.

An editorial in the official China Daily on Saturday said denuclearisation could end hostilities between the two sides and "usher in a new era of development" on the peninsula, but noted Friday's declaration lacked a plan for achieving the goal.

"The denuclearisation of the peninsula, written into the Panmunjom Declaration, is only a prospect with no specific plan. That is because such specifics can be reached only between the US and North Korea, and South Korea has only limited authority to bargain," it said.