South Korea's Moon credits Trump for 'big' role in North Korea talks

A woman watches TV screens showing the live broadcast of South Korean President Moon Jae-ins New Years speech at the Yongsan Electronic store in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018.PlayAP
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South Korean President Moon Jae In credited President Donald Trump for playing a “big” role in facilitating Tuesday’s groundbreaking talks between South and North Korea in a press conference Wednesday.

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“I extend my gratitude to President Trump,” said Moon, speaking to reporters at his New Year’s address.

High-level officials from North and South Korea agreed in an almost 12-hour set of talks on Tuesday to send a North Korean delegation of officials, athletes and cheerleaders to the Winter Olympics starting Feb. 9.

The countries also struck a deal to hold future military talks to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula while agreeing to “resolve national matters” through dialogue between the two Koreas.

When asked by ABC News what would happen if he had to takes sides between his country’s strongest ally, the United States, and the South’s "brother country" North Korea, Moon said there is “no disagreement whatsoever between the U.S. and South Korea.”

“The ultimate goal is to find a diplomatic solution together and lure them [North Korea] out to talks through strong international sanctions and pressure,” Moon said.

The South Korean president said both his country and the United States feel threatened by a nuclear North and “without a strong push on international sanctions led by the U.S., [yesterday’s high-level talks] could not have happened.”

During his opening remarks, Moon reassured reporters that denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula is a goal that could “never be given up” and he is open to meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to resolve the nuclear standoff.

“But to have the summit, some conditions must be established,” Moon said. “I think a certain level of success must be guaranteed.”

PHOTO: A North Korean soldier looks through the window of the building that sits on the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in Panmunjom, South Korea, that separates the two Koreas, July 21, 2010.
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