Korean leaders hold second meeting amid Trump summit uncertainty
May 28 2018
Kim reached out to Moon on Friday afternoon, just after Trump announced a personal letter to Kim cancelling a planned summit next month, to say that he "wanted to meet without formalities", the South Korean leader said.
President Donald Trump on Friday re-opened the door that he had slammed shut only a day earlier. Trump replied by saying he hoped for "enduring prosperity and peace", and later added the summit may take place on its originally scheduled date after all.
These developments, combined with a surprise meeting Saturday between Kim and South Korea's president, Moon Jae-in, rekindled hopes of progress toward halting the North's nuclear weapons program. After years of tension over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programme, Kim and Trump agreed this month to hold what would be the first meeting between a serving U.S. president and a North Korean leader. Mr. Kim Jong-un's comments published by the newspaper did not include any mention of his potential meeting with Mr. Trump.
In Pyongyang, North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan said North Korea's criticisms had been a reaction to American rhetoric and that current antagonism showed "the urgent necessity" for the summit.
The original decision to abandon the historic summit blindsided South Korea which had been brokering a remarkable détente between Washington and Pyongyang after months of Kim and Trump trading insults and threats of war.
President Moon's spokesman said there had been a "candid" exchange of views in the two hours of talks between the two leaders.
USA officials appeared to be pressing ahead in the belief that the summit remains on the table.
It was unclear if Pompeo, who has traveled twice to Pyongyang for meetings with Kim, would continue to play a role in the negotiations.
In her statement, Choe Son-Hui said that North Korea will not think twice about walking away from the deal if the United States tries "unlawful and outrageous acts".
Moon, who has been a mediator between Trump and Kim, called an emergency meeting in the middle of the night after Trump called off the June summit in a letter to Kim.
"Chairman Kim and I have agreed that the June 12 summit should be held successfully, and that our quest for the Korean peninsula's denuclearisation and a perpetual peace regime should not be halted", Moon said.
"The White House pre-advance team for Singapore will leave as scheduled in order to prepare should the summit take place", Sanders said in a statement Saturday morning.
Mr Trump's aides had warned that merely agreeing to the summit had provided Mr Kim with long-sought worldwide legitimacy and, if Mr Trump ultimately backed out, he risked fostering the perception that the president was insufficiently committed to diplomatic solutions to the nuclear question.
"Whether it was to maintain good will with the South, or whether it was the case that they realized, "Our great leader wants to move ahead with summit, and perhaps our language put that in jeopardy" is unclear, he said.
Abe said he planned to hold talks with Trump over the telephone soon after returning to Japan on Sunday.