SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, said he wanted to rid the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons when he met with a special envoy from South Korea, the North’s official media reported on Thursday, and the two sides set Sept. 18-20 as the dates for a summit meeting between leaders of the two countries.
The envoy, Chung Eui-yong, South Korea’s national security adviser, met with Mr. Kim in Pyongyang on Wednesday in hopes of breaking the deadlock in the talks between the North and the United States over dismantling the North’s nuclear weapons program.
On Thursday, the North’s official Korean Central News Agency said that Mr. Kim reaffirmed his commitment to denuclearize North Korea. But it fell short of clarifying whether Mr. Kim was ready to take major steps toward denuclearizing his country, such as submitting a full inventory of nuclear weapons and fissile materials, that the Trump administration has insisted on.
“Noting that it is our fixed stance and his will to completely remove the danger of armed conflict and horror of war from the Korean Peninsula and turn it into the cradle of peace without nuclear weapons and free from nuclear threat, he said that the North and the South should further their efforts to realize the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” the North Korean news agency said, referring to Mr. Kim.
When Mr. Kim met with President Trump on June 12, the two leaders pledged to establish “new” relations and build “a lasting and stable peace regime” on the Korean Peninsula, while Mr. Kim agreed to “work toward complete denuclearization.”
But their diplomats’ negotiations have since stalled over differences on how to carry out that vaguely worded agreement. Mr. Trump, who had repeatedly boasted that he largely resolved the North Korean nuclear crisis, abruptly canceled Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s planned visit to Pyongyang last week, citing a lack of progress in the denuclearization talks.
In an attempt to jump-start the stalled talks, the two countries agreed that Mr. Kim and South Korea’s leader, Moon Jae-in, would hold a summit meeting this month in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital. It will be the third meeting between the two leaders.
In remarks reported by the North Korean news agency, Mr. Kim offered few clues on how he would achieve the denuclearization of the peninsula, except indicating that his idea included removal of all nuclear weapons.
But Mr. Kim also repeated his country’s longstanding demand that denuclearization must also include the removal of any “nuclear threat,” a phrase the North often uses to refer to American military exercises with South Korea and in the region.
When Mr. Chung met with the North’s leader, his entourage included Suh Hoon, the director of South Korea’s National Intelligence Service.
Mr. Chung and Mr. Suh helped facilitate some of the key recent developments in the diplomacy surrounding the North and its nuclear arms. During their prior trip to Pyongyang, which took place in March, they dined with Mr. Kim and laid the groundwork for his first meeting with Mr. Moon, which took place in April at the border village of Panmunjom.
The South Korean officials later visited Mr. Trump at the White House, where they relayed Mr. Kim’s proposal for a meeting between the two leaders — which Mr. Trump accepted on the spot.
But the recent cancellation of Mr. Pompeo’s visit was a setback for Mr. Moon, whose hopes for improving the inter-Korean relationship could be jeopardized by a deadlock between Pyongyang and Washington.
Mr. Moon had to delay the opening of a liaison office in the North after Mr. Pompeo’s trip was canceled. Last month, American military commanders in Seoul stopped South Korea’s plan to send a train across the inter-Korean border and run it on a North Korean railway, to test the rails’ condition.
Mr. Moon has promised to help modernize the North’s railways and roads as part of his engagement strategy, but Washington is wary of South Korea giving the North too much before it has made tangible progress toward denuclearization.