South Korea's Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said Friday that the peninsula faces a "historic moment for a lasting peace" ahead of another inter-Korean summit later this month aimed at catalyzing North Korea's denuclearization process.
Kang made the remarks at a lecture two days after Seoul presidential envoys' one-day trip to the North, where they nailed down the date of the Pyongyang summit -- Sept. 18-20 -- and reconfirmed North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's commitment to denuclearization.
"This dramatic period of time is progressing with the leaders' determination for peace on the Korean Peninsula," the minister said during a lecture at Woosuk University in the southeastern county of Wanju.
Pointing to possible challenges on a path toward peace, Kang said the North's nuclear disarmament will take patience and time.
"Inter-Korean tension reduction, cross-border policy cooperation, multilateral talks for the establishment of a peace regime and an agreement on complete denuclearization for a peninsula free from nuclear weapons," she said. "All these will be a long-term task that requires much patience and effort."
The special envoys' trip was arranged amid a perceived impasse in negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang.
Washington has demanded that the communist state take tangible denuclearization steps, such as a full declaration of its nuclear and missile stockpiles. But Pyongyang wants the U.S. to agree first on a declaration of a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War.
This month's inter-Korean summit is expected to be a test of South Korean President Moon's diplomacy to break the diplomatic deadlock, observers said.
During the lecture, the foreign minister noted the need for young people's support for ongoing peace efforts.
"There will be more work for the new generation of leaders to do for peace on the peninsula that the world has been carefully watching," she said.