North Korean media hails summit as Trump presses for full denuclearization

SEOUL, April 28 (Reuters) - North Korea's state news agency on Saturday called the inter-Korean summit a turning point for the Korean peninsula, while U.S. President Donald Trump said he would maintain sanctions pressure on Pyongyang ahead of his own unprecedented meeting with Kim Jong Un.

The North's KCNA news agency 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 denuclearization of the peninsula," KCNA said, reporting that the night wrapped up with a dinner with an "amicable atmosphere overflowing with feelings of blood relatives."

RELATED: Inside Panmunjom, the truce village separating North and South Korea

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Inside Panmunjom, the truce village separating North and South Korea
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Inside Panmunjom, the truce village separating North and South Korea
South Korean soldiers stand guard at the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, South Korea, April 11, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
PANMUNJOM, SOUTH KOREA - APRIL 11: A North Korean soldier stands guard at the border village of Panmunjom between South and North Korea at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) on April 11, 2018 in Panmunjom, South Korea. South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will meet for the first time on April 27, 2018 in the Peace House, a South Korean building inside Panmunjom. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
South Korean soldiers stand guard at the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, South Korea, April 11, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
PANMUNJOM, SOUTH KOREA - APRIL 11: North Korean military check point is seen from an observation post on April 11, 2018 in Panmunjom, South Korea. South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will meet for the first time on April 27, 2018 in the Peace House, a South Korean building inside Panmunjom. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
South Korean soldiers stand guard in the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, in the truce village of Panmunjom, South Korea February 7, 2018. Picture taken on February 7, 2018. REUTERS/Josh Smith
PANMUNJOM, SOUTH KOREA - APRIL 11: A North Korean national flag in North Korea's propaganda village of Gijungdong is seen from an observation post on April 11, 2018 in Panmunjom, South Korea. South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will meet for the first time on April 27, 2018 in the Peace House, a South Korean building inside Panmunjom. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
A South Korean soldier stands guard at the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, South Korea, April 11, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
A North Korean soldier is seen through a door on the North side of the border truce village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) dividing the two Koreas on April 11, 2018. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in are due to meet on April 27 at the South's side of the demilitarized zone for the landmark inter-Korean summit. / AFP PHOTO / Jung Yeon-je (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
A South Korean soldier stands guard at the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, South Korea, April 11, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
South Korean soldiers work on a barricade on the Grand Unification Bridge which leads to the truce village Panmunjom, just south of the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, in Paju, South Korea, January 19, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
South Korean soldiers stand guard in the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, in the truce village of Panmunjom, South Korea, February 7, 2018. Picture taken on February 7, 2018. REUTERS/Josh Smith
The general view shows a North Korean village near the truce village of Panmunjom, seen from within the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating North and South Korea on February 21, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Ed JONES (Photo credit should read ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)
North Korean soldiers walk beside the road leading to the North Korean side of the truce village of Panmunjom, seen from within the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating North and South Korea on February 21, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Ed JONES (Photo credit should read ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)
This general view shows a North Korean miltary post on the road to the truce village of Panmunjom, seen from within the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating North and South Korea on February 21, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Ed JONES (Photo credit should read ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)
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A day after the meeting between Kim and Moon produced dramatic images and a sweeping declaration of goodwill, 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.

Most of the specific commitments outlined in the official declaration focused on inter-Korean relations and did not clear up the question of whether Pyongyang is willing to give up its arsenal of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

In their coverage of the summit, North Korean state media made rare mentions of the denuclearisation discussion but did not go into specifics, instead highlighting the broad themes of peace, prosperity, and Korean unity.

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

"It's never gone this far. This enthusiasm for them wanting to make a deal ... We are going to hopefully make a deal."

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

A senior U.S. official said they are considering Singapore as a possible venue for the Trump-Kim summit.

Speaking on Saturday at a televised news conference 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 denuclearization 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 U.S. 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.

Australia will send a military aircraft to monitor North Korean vessels suspected of transferring illicit goods in defiance of U.N. sanctions, he said.

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

"Iran sees (the summit) as an important step in the right direction that can contribute to lasting regional and global peace and security," Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi was quoted as saying by state media.

"The U.S. 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 denuclearization 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. (Reporting by Christine Kim in SEOUL, Ben Blanchard in BEIJING, Alison Bevege in SYDNEY, and Dubai newsroom. Editing by Gerry Doyle)

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