Surprise! Kim and Moon meet and even Trump is hopeful again

Marco Green
May 27, 2018

North Korea's Kim Jong-un and South Korean Moon Jae-in met in April in what was only the third meeting between the leaders of the two states.

The statement by Seoul's presidential office on Saturday came hours after Trump welcomed North Korea's conciliatory response to his Thursday letter withdrawing from the summit, and said the meeting might be getting back on track.

But late on Friday, Trump tweeted: "We are having very productive talks with North Korea about reinstating the summit which, if it does happen, will likely remain in Singapore on the same date, June 12th, and, if necessary, will be extended beyond that date".

A spokesman for Moon Jae-In, the South Korean president, said details of the surprise meeting would soon be revealed.

-North Korea summit and their commitment to a denuclearized peninsula, North and South Korean officials said after the meeting.

"Based on the bilateral alliance with the United States, we will get ready to move for progress on the abduction, nuclear and missile issues", a source with the prime minister's office said.

While maintaining that Kim is committed to denuclearisation, Moon acknowledged Pyongyang and Washington may have differing expectations of what that means, and he urged both sides to hold working-level talks to resolve their differences.

US defense and intelligence officials have repeatedly assessed the North to be on the threshold of having the capability to strike anywhere in the continental USA with a nuclear-tipped missile - a capacity that Trump and other US officials have said they would not tolerate.

Kim and Moon met for two hours on the North Korean side of the truce village Panmunjom between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. local time (2:00 4:00 a.m. ET), according to the Blue House, which released pictures of the two leaders embracing.

Mr Trump's decision to pull the summit is understood to have followed comments from North Korean diplomat Choe Son Hui, who referred to Mike Pence as a "political dummy".

Trump, in his letter to Kim, objected specifically to a statement from a top North Korean Foreign Ministry official.

North Korean state-run media KCNA said in its own statement about the Saturday meeting that Kim and Moon expressed "their stand to make joint efforts for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula".

Kyodo News reported senior North Korean officials were also seen en route to Singapore.

The newspaper instead focused on Kim Jong Un's visit to the coastal town of Wonsan to inspect the construction of a beachfront tourist complex.

Unlike last month's summit, which was held in front of live TV cameras, Saturday's meeting took place in utmost secrecy, with reporters only being told after the face to face had taken place.

- Trump says he is looking forward to June 12 meeting with Kim in Singapore.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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