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Kim says summit with Trump stabilised region, sees more progress

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (R) walks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in (L) before their summit at the Workers' Party of Korea headquarters in Pyongyang on September 18, 2018.

[SEOUL] North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said on Tuesday his "historic" summit with US President Donald Trump in Singapore stabilised regional security, and that he expected further progress at an inter-Korean summit aimed at reviving stalled nuclear diplomacy.

Mr Kim thanked South Korea's President Moon Jae-in for bringing about the Singapore meeting in June as the two leaders began their third round of talks in Pyongyang.

"Thanks to that, the political situation in the region has stabilised and I expect more advanced results," Mr Kim told Mr Moon, referring to the Singapore gathering, at the start of their talks.

The Kim-Moon summit will be a litmus test for another meeting Mr Kim has recently proposed to Mr Trump, with the South Korean president seeking to engineer a proposal that combines a framework for the North's denuclearisation and a joint declaration ending the 1950-53 Korean War.

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Mr Moon expressed gratitude for Mr Kim's "bold decision to open a new era".

The first session of the talks, which lasted for two hours, were held at the headquarters of the North's ruling Workers' Party Central Committee, with party vice chairman Kim Yong Chol and Kim Jong Un's sister Kim Yo Jong, as well as South Korea's national security adviser Chung Eui-yong and spy chief Suh Hoon in attendance.

Earlier, the leaders paraded down the streets of Pyongyang in Kim's black Mercedes limousine to loud cheers from nearly 100,000 North Koreans who waved flowers and chanted "Motherland!Unification!"

Kim greeted Moon with hugs and handshakes as the South Korean leader landed in the North's capital with a mission to rekindle momentum in faltering talks between Washington and Pyongyang over denuclearisation and a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War.

As Mr Kim escorted Mr Moon to the Paekhwawon State Guest House, where Mr Moon will stay during his three-day visit, Mr Kim said he wanted to produce a "bigger outcome at a faster pace" than the two leaders have achieved so far.

Mr Moon, himself the offspring of a family displaced by the war, has met Mr Kim twice this year at the border village of Panmunjom.

"You Mr. President are travelling all around the world, but our country is humble compared with developed nations," Mr Kim told Mr Moon. "I've been waiting and waiting for today. The level of the accommodation and schedule we provide may be low, but it's our best sincerity and heart."

Mr Moon said it was "time to bear fruit" and thanked Kim for his hospitality, which included a massive welcome ceremony at Pyongyang International Airport featuring a large, goose-stepping honour guard and a military band.

During their motor parade through Pyongyang's landmark Ryomyong Street, a new residential district launched last year under Mr Kim's initiative to modernise the city, Mr Kim and Mr Moon briefly stepped out of the vehicle to greet and take flowers from members of the crowd.

Mr Trump has asked Moon to be "chief negotiator" between himself and Mr Kim, according to Mr Moon's aides, after Mr Trump cancelled a trip to Pyongyang by his secretary of state last month.

Washington wants to see concrete action toward denuclearisation by North Korea before agreeing to a key goal of Pyongyang - declaring an end to the 1950-53 Korean War.

The conflict ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty, leaving US-led UN.forces including South Korea technically still at war with the North.

South Korea is pinning high hopes on Mr Kim's remarks to Mr Moon's special envoys earlier this month that he wants to achieve denuclearisation within Mr Trump's first term in office ending in early 2021.

REUTERS