Seol/Washington: The leaders of North and South Korea met for two hours Saturday in a surprise meeting to discuss ways to salvage the cancelled summit between Kim Jong-Un and Donald Trump, and the two countries plan additional talks this week.
Meanwhile, a White House team will travel to Singapore as earlier planned to continue preparations for the on-again, off-again Trump-Kim meeting.
Kim met South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the truce village of Panmunjom along their border and had a candid discussion about the potential US-Korea meeting, Moon’s office said in text message.
North Korea’s state news agency, KCNA, later said the Korean leaders had agreed to “high-level” talks between the two countries on 1 June. “They shared the opinion that they would meet frequently in the future to make dialogue brisk and pool wisdom and efforts,” KCNA said.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un believes a summit with US President Donald Trump will be a landmark opportunity to end decades of confrontation, South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in said today following his surprise meeting with the North Korean leader.
“He also expressed his intention to put an end to the history of war and confrontation through the success of the North-US summit and to cooperate for peace and prosperity,” Moon told reporters, adding both he and Kim agreed to meet or talk in person “if necessary”.
Trump rattled the region on Thursday by cancelling his meeting with Kim, citing “open hostility” from Pyongyang.
But within 24 hours he reversed course, saying it could still go ahead after productive talks were held with North Korean officials.
During his two hour meeting with Kim, Moon said he urged both Washington and Pyongyang “to remove misunderstandings through direct communication and to have sufficient dialogue in advance through working-level negotiations on the agendas to be agreed upon at the summit”.
“Chairman Kim agreed on that,” he added. Moon said the Pyongyang regime reaffirmed its commitment to give up its nuclear weapons but had its own security concerns if it took that step. “Kim stressed again that he had a firm determination towards complete denuclearisation,” the South Korean president added.
“The thing he was uncertain about was not denuclearisation but concerns on whether he could trust that the US would end its hostile policy and guarantee the security of his regime when the North denuclearises itself.
However, US President Donald Trump said today that things are moving “very nicely” towards a summit on 12 June in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
“It’s moving along very nicely,” Trump said at the White House during a meeting with a US prisoner freed by Venezuela.
“We’re looking at 12 June in Singapore. It hasn’t changed”.