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SEOUL, 14 Jun 2018 [Fik/News Sources]: South Korean President Moon Jae-in stated Thursday that the world has been allowed to "escape" the threat of North Korean nuclear weapons, as the Koreas kicked off their first high-level military talks in over a decade.
Despite criticisms that Tuesday's summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un failed to secure a plan for Pyongyang's denuclearization, Moon was optimistic while welcoming U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Seoul's presidential office.
"There are many different views on the outcome of that summit, but what is most important is the fact that it has allowed the entire world, including American, Japanese and Chinese people, to escape from threats of a nuclear war and long-range missiles," Moon was quoted as saying by local news agency Yonhap.
"I believe this alone was a very meaningful development," he insisted.
Moon's comments echoed a Twitter post by Trump Wednesday, in which he claimed "there is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea".
Critics say Trump conceded too much ground to Kim when he announced the end of 'war games' with South Korea, seemingly agreeing with years of North Korean opposition to joint U.S.-South military exercises when he described them as "provocative".
While even Seoul and Washington's defense officials did not seem prepared for Trump's declaration, the development may have helped further ease any lingering tensions ahead of Thursday's inter-Korean military dialogue.
The meeting kicked off on the northern side of the Panmunjom border village around 10 a.m. (0100 GMT), with Seoul's delegation led by Major General Kim Do-gyun. Lieutenant General An Ik-san headed up Pyongyang's side.
"[We] plan to discuss such issues as easing military tensions between the two Koreas and arranging a defense ministerial meeting," Kim told reporters before leaving, according to Yonhap.