South Korean President Moon Jae-in called on both North Korea and the United States on Tuesday to make concrete steps in their stalled negotiations over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program.
Moon said the US and North Korea need to "make bold decisions" and that both must communicate more actively with one another.
"North Korea must carry out its nuclear dismantling and the United States must take a corresponding step," Moon said, adding that he will continue to act as mediator between the two sides.
Moon's comments come one week before he is due to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for a summit in Pyongyang that is due to run from September 18-20. It will be the third summit between the two leaders this year.
Improving relations between North and South Korea is largely tied to progress in talks between Washington and Pyongyang. Moon said that his upcoming summit with Kim must include another "big step" towards denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.
Trump, Kim planning next meeting
On Monday, the White House announced that the US and North Korea are currently preparing for a second summit between US President Donald Trump and Kim. Officials did not provide further details about when such a summit would take place.
Washington and Pyongyang are at an impasse about how to follow through on an agreement reached at the first Trump-Kim summit in Singapore earlier this summer.
During the June summit, both agreed generally to denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, but did not set out a concrete plan for following through.
Although Pyongyang dismantled its nuclear and rocket testing sites, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and a UN report said there has been little to no evidence that North Korea has scaled back its nuclear program. The US has also demanded that North Korea take more serious steps.
Kim has reportedly said that any denuclearization efforts on his part must be reciprocated by the US, such as a declaration ending the 1950-1953 Korean War.
rs/kms (AP, dpa)