US Still Preparing for Trump-Kim Summit Should it Take Place

Casey Dawson
May 27, 2018

South Korean officials have said the pair discussed carrying out the peace commitments reached in their first summit last month, as well as Mr Kim's potential meeting with US President Donald Trump. Ahead of their first meeting last month, Kim and Moon established a hotline that they said would enable direct communication between the leaders and would be valuable to defuse crises, but it was unclear whether it was used to set up the latest meeting.

The latest talks were held on the northern side of the Panmunjom truce village, between 3pm and 5pm local time, Mr Moon's office said.

President Moon has worked assiduously to coax Trump and Kim to meet at the negotiating table given the reality that inter-Korean reconciliation, and ultimately peace on the Korean Peninsula, can not be achieved unless the United States and North Korea strike a deal on denuclearization.

News about the extraordinary two hour meeting between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un, came hours after it occurred.

Joel Wit, founder of the respected 38 North website that monitors North Korea, said Kim's hand has been strengthened regardless of whether the summit goes ahead because recent weeks have seen him forge connections with Chinese President Xi Jinping, as well as with Russian Federation and South Korea. Although he attributed his decision to the "tremendous anger and open hostility" in North Korean official statements, the more likely explanation for the about-face was that it had become increasingly apparent that the summit would fail, given that North Korea would not agree to completely dismantle its nuclear arsenal and capabilities.

He did not detail the nature of the new US communication with the North. They announced they would be holding a candlelit vigil Friday evening in response to Trump canceling the summit.

He also added, "We're talking to them now".

South Korea's government said in a statement released Saturday that it was relieved about the revived talks for a summit.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday that North Korean officials had stopped communicating with US officials in recent days.

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In Pyongyang, North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan said North Korea's criticisms of certain USA officials had been a reaction to American rhetoric and that the current antagonism showed "the urgent necessity" for the summit.

Yesterday, North Korea destroyed its Punggye-ri nuclear test site - including three nuclear tunnels, observation buildings, witnessed by worldwide journalists.

The meeting, which was not previously announced, underscored the importance South Korea's president puts on efforts to peacefully resolve the crisis over North Korea's nuclear weapons program. "We're going to see what happens", he was quoted as saying by the USA media.

The statement said North Korea is "open-minded in giving time and opportunity to the U.S". "It's going to be great for the world and certainly be good for North Korea", Sanders said.

Also, for talks to commence, North Korea must detail a preliminary roadmap as to what it would offer in terms of denuclearization.

Activists march toward the Unification Bridge, which leads to Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone, during the 2018 DMZ Women Peace Walk in Paju, South Korea, Saturday, May 26, 2018.

It was the clearest sign yet that the on-again off-again summit between Mr Trump and Mr Kim is likely to be held as initially agreed, in Singapore on June 12th. "We would like to do it", Trump said, and "they very much like to do it".

Those included the North Korean decision to cancel a planned high-level meeting with the South to protest joint military exercises held annually by Seoul and Washington, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

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