South Korea’s Moon still hopes to host Kim this year

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U.S. President Donald Trump said on Saturday he is likely to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in January or February and that three sites for their second meeting are under consideration.

"Ever since South and North Korea were divided into two countries, this will be the first time that a North Korean leader will visit South Korea", Moon said through an interpreter.

New Zealand is active in the monitoring of United Nations sanctions against North Korea, deploying an Air Force P-3K2 plane to patrol global waters in North Asia for signs of vessels undertaking activities such as ship-to-ship transfers.

Mr Moon, who is hoping to host Mr Kim soon on the first trip to Seoul by a North Korean leader as agreed earlier this year, said Mr Trump had asked him to pass on a message.

Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Monday to take concrete steps toward complete denuclearisation and gain the trust of the worldwide community if he wants sanctions lifted. Moon made the comments to reporters on the final day of a visit to New Zealand.

He asked for support for the Korean Peninsula peace process during the meeting with New Zealand National Party leader Simon Bridges held at the Cordis Hotel in Auckland.

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According to several Western media outlets, Trump told them aboard Air Force One after attending the Group of 20 (G20) summit that the meeting would occur early in 2019.

"And the message was that President Trump has a very friendly view of Chairman Kim and that he likes him", Moon said, relaying the contents of a conversation with Trump at the sidelines of the G20 summit on Friday.

After sharply raising tensions with nuclear and missile tests a year ago, Kim abruptly reached out to Moon and Trump with a vague nuclear disarmament pledge.

His words suggest that he persuaded Mr Trump in talks in Buenos Aires that warmer relations between North and South Korea do not undermine the pressure being exerted on Mr Kim by worldwide sanctions.

Moon said that Seoul shares the same stance as Wellington in rejecting protectionism and defending free trade. In June, Trump and Kim opened up dialogue on denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula after months of trading military threats and pointed barbs.

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