A South Korean ruling party lawmaker said Thursday that President Moon Jae-in and Chinese President Xi Jinping share an understanding that suspending North Korea's nuclear and missile development and joint South Korea-U.S. military exercises at the same time is the most realistic way to start resolving the standoff.
Rep. Lee Hae-chan of the Democratic Party also said during a security conference that Moon and Xi talked a lot in their meetings about the simultaneous suspension, as well as the idea of seeking the North's denuclearization and a Korean War peace treaty at the same time.
"I can say that (Moon and Xi) have come to a point where they share an understanding that it is perhaps the most realistic way," Lee said during the conference organized to mark late former President Kim Dae-jung's winning of the 2000 Nobel Peace Prize.
Lee also said that the South and China have the same position on the North Korean nuclear issue.
On inter-Korean relations, Lee said that he hopes the two Koreas will be able to find a breakthrough in their stalled ties on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the 1919 nationwide uprising against Japanese colonial rule and the establishment of a provisional government.
In the text of his speech, Lee said that 2019 would be good for an inter-Korean summit.
"If possible, it's important to push for a South-North summit in the first half (of Moon's five-year term)," Lee said according to the text. "If a summit takes places in the second half, it would be difficult to guarantee its effectiveness."
The two Koreas have held two summits so far, the first in 2000 between then-President Kim and then North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and the other in 2007 between then-President Roh Moo-hyun and the North's leader. Inter-Korean relations have since worsened seriously under the two successive conservative administrations of Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-hye. (Yonhap News)