South's President Moon Jae-in speaks at an event in Seoul. File photo
Time is running out for Washington and Pyongyang to reach a deal on North Korea's nuclear weapons, the South's President Moon Jae-in -- who brokered their talks process — warned on Tuesday.
Moon has long championed engagement with Pyongyang and used the South's 2018 Winter Olympics to build a diplomatic rapprochement that climaxed with the first landmark summit between Kim and US President Donald Trump in Singapore.
But negotiations have been deadlocked since their second summit collapsed in Hanoi last year over sanctions relief and what the North would be willing to give up in return.
Pyongyang has since ended its moratorium on nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests and says it will not return to talks unless Washington first meets all its demands in full.
It has also suspended virtually all inter-Korean cooperation and said it had "nothing to talk" about anymore with Seoul.
"It is clear there is a lull in talks," Moon acknowledged in his annual New Year press conference. "Since a prolonged lull in dialogue can set back the situation, it is not desirable."
The two sides did not have "much time to spare", he added: "Once a full-scale presidential race begins, it may not be easy for the US to make time for talks with North Korea."
But despite the stand-off, he insisted that further discussions were still possible.
"North Korea is showing that it is leaving the door to dialogue open and that it wants to talk."
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and US President Donald Trump are expected to hold a summit at the United Nations this month, Moon’s office said on Friday, amid hopes for a restart of talks aimed at dismantling
US President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in held a half-hour phone discussion on ways to maintain diplomacy with North Korea, Seoul said on Saturday, as Pyongyang warns of waning patience with stalled nuclear talks.
The missiles, launched from near the coastal city of Wonsan, flew about 430 km (267 miles) out over the sea, reaching an altitude of 50 km (30 miles), before splashing down,
North Korea will hold a plenary session of its ruling party’s central committee on Wednesday, a day after leader Kim Jong Un chaired a politburo meeting to discuss ways to make progress under the “prevailing tense situation,” state media reported.
The decision was made in order to facilitate intensified sterilization procedures in the area, due to the high density of its population.
Worldwide, more than 788,000 people have been infected and 166,000 have recovered, according to Johns Hopkins University. Italy's death toll rose to nearly 11,600 — the highest in the world by far — but its rates of new infections were slowing.
Health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said 3,111 new infections have been confirmed over the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 44,606. He said 3,703 of those hospitalised are in a critical condition and 14,656 have recovered.
The announcement brings the country's tally of confirmed virus cases up to 289, according to ministry's spokesman Dr. Abdullah Al-Sanad. In addition, 216 virus patients are still receiving necessary treatment, while 13 others are in intensive care units.