Korean leaders meet after Trump threatens to quit Kim summit

27 May, 2018, 01:48 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • Donald Trump told reporters on his way to board the presidential helicopter that US officials are in talks with North Korea after the country’s ‘very nice statement’ on Friday

The leaders of North and South Korea met for two hours on Saturday to discuss the canceled summit with Donald Trump, less than a day after the US leader signaled the meeting may be back on citing "very productive" talks between the two countries.

The meeting at a border truce village came hours after South Korea expressed relief over revived talks for a summit between Trump and Kim following a whirlwind 24 hours that saw Trump cancel the highly anticipated meeting before saying it's potentially back on.

Even so, both sides still seem to want to hold the meeting, which would be unprecedented.

-North Korea summit plans, President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un must overcome a gaping disconnect over what a deal on the North's nuclear weapons would look like. On Sunday, Moon planned to disclose the outcome of that meeting.

Observers of the soap opera-style Trump-Kim summit drama could be forgiven for thinking that a fragile courtship is underway, where the tenor of each side's statements will determine whether the two can agree to sit down together.

President Trump called off the Singapore summit with a letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Thursday morning.

The meeting between Moon and Kim took place in a grand building on the North Korean side of Panmunjom, a surreal and heavily fortified village that lies between the two countries and marks the spot where the armistice ending the Korean War in 1953 was signed. Former South Korean leaders Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun met with Kim Jong Un's late father, Kim Jong Il, in Pyongyang in 2000 and 2007, respectively.

Politico magazine reported earlier that an advance team of 30 White House and State Department officials were preparing to depart later this weekend.

The North's decision to close the Punggye-ri nuclear test site has generally been seen as a welcome gesture by Mr Kim to set a positive tone ahead of the summit. The delegation was to include White House Deputy Chief of Staff Joseph Hagin and deputy national security adviser Mira Ricardel, US officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Saturday's meeting is only the fourth time - but the second in a month - that leaders from the North and South have met. "It could even be the 12th", Trump told reporters at the White House.

"We'll see what happens", he said Friday as he departed for the Naval Academy graduation ceremony in Annapolis, Maryland.

"We're talking to them now", Trump said of the North Koreans. Moon said Trump's decision left him "perplexed" and was "very regrettable". "We'd like to do it", he said.

At the heart of the North's negative rhetoric that led Trump to cancel the summit is a fundamental difference of views on the path to denuclearization.

The group did not supplant the State Department's traditional mode of communication with the North, which is known as the "New York Channel" and involves USA diplomats and their North Korean counterparts posted to the United Nations.

But then Trump suggested Friday that his planned meeting with Kim could still happen on June 12.

Elms explains that "the use of the term "Libya" and repeated discussions about unilateral disarmament are very hard kind of language to use before you've even had the opportunity to sit down and meet for the first time".



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