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Moon meets Pompeo, saying world has escaped nuclear weapons threat
SEOUL - The Democratic People"s Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea held military talks for the first time in more than a decade on Thursday in the border village of Panmunjom.
Military officials discussed reducing tensions across their heavily fortified border.
The last time the two sides held such talks was in 2007.
It followed on from an inter-Korean summit in April at which leaders of the two neighbors had agreed to defuse tensions and cease "all hostile acts". It also came two days after Trump said he would stop "expensive, provocative" war games with the ROK.
Earlier on the same day, the ROK"s President Moon Jae-in said the world had escaped the threat of war after this week"s Singapore summit, echoing US President Donald Trump"s upbeat assessment of his meeting with Kim Jong-un, top leader of the DPRK.
Trump and Kim issued a joint statement after their historic meeting that reaffirmed Pyongyang"s commitment to "work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula", an end to joint US-ROK military exercises and gave US guarantees of security to the DPRK.
"There have been many analyses on the outcome of the summit, but I think what"s most important was that the people of the world, including those in the United States, Japan and Koreans, have all been able to escape the threat of war, nuclear weapons and missiles," Moon told US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ahead of a meeting between the two in Seoul.
Pompeo arrived in Seoul on Wednesday evening after accompanying Trump to the historic summit with Kim in Singapore on Tuesday.
The Singapore summit statement provided no details on when Pyongyang would give up its nuclear weapons program or how the dismantling might be verified.
"I am confident that we took a very good, significant step in Singapore," Pompeo told Moon on Thursday ahead of a trilateral meeting with the ROK"s Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono.
Kang said on Thursday that joint military exercises with the US, which have been conducted twice a year, are an issue to be determined through consultations between military authorities of the two countries.
This year"s springtime war games were conducted in April after being delayed for the ROK-hosted Winter Olympics. The autumn military drills are scheduled for August.
Kang said she understood what Trump said was his willingness to strengthen dialogue with the DPRK, which has emerged following the DPRKUS summit and the inter-Korean summits.
But the ROK"s presidential office said on Wednesday that it needs to get clarity on the exact meaning and intention of Trump"s comments about the war games.
Pompeo insisted that Pyongyang was committed to giving up its nuclear arsenal but said it would "be a process, not an easy one".
On Wednesday, Pompeo said Washington was hopeful that major nuclear disarmament on the Korean Peninsula could be achieved in the next two and a half years.
He made the remarks when asked if the US would like to accomplish major nuclear disarmament before Trump"s first term, which will end in January 2021.
Meanwhile, Japan also is working to arrange a meeting between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Kim after the DPRK leader said he was open to talks, media reported on Thursday.
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