South Korean President meets Macron on state visit to France

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, left, and French President Emmanuel Macron pose before a meeting at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, Monday, Oct. 15, 2018. Moon Jae-in is for a three-day state visit in France. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

PARIS (AP) — South Korean President Moon Jae-in has met with French President Emmanuel Macron to discuss inter-Korean talks and bilateral issues.

Moon, on a state visit to France, said he considers France, a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, as a key partner in efforts toward peace with North Korea.

Moon, who is on a European trip which also includes Italy, Belgium and Denmark, aims to seek support for inter-Korean rapprochement amid widespread international skepticism that North Korea will disarm.

Macron said France is looking for a complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and is not going to ease sanctions on North Korea or establish diplomatic relations with North Korea at this stage.

“It’s good to keep leverage to ensure there are changes,” Macron said.

Both leaders pledged to enhance economic and cultural cooperation between their countries in a joint news conference Monday in Paris.

North and South Korea continued their push for peace Monday with high-level talks that resulted in a host of agreements, including a plan by the rivals for a groundbreaking ceremony this year on an ambitious project to connect their railways and roads.

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