Trump says he'd be open to talking with North Korean leader

Jan 09, 2018, 00:39

But on Thursday, Trump called the new talks "a good thing" and said they had been prompted by his "firm, strong" stance, which has included harsher worldwide sanctions and threats of military intervention if the North does not give up its weapons program.

The talks at Panmunjom, the truce village in the Demilitarized Zone that divides the peninsula, will largely focus on the North's participation in next month's Winter Olympics in the South. Mr. Moon is a seasoned politician and knows North Korea better.

The United States, which has 28,500 troops stationed in South Korea as a legacy of the 1950-1953 Korean War, initially responded coolly to the idea of inter-Korean meetings.

Jon Jong-su has also attended various inter-Korean talks, beginning with the inter-Korean summit in June 2000. "Considering that a variety of channels will be necessary if we assume that the Unification Ministry will be taking the lead in inter-Korean talks moving forward, I think they took the right approach to appointing people [to the negotiating teams]", said Cheong Seong-chang, a senior research fellow at the Sejong Institute.

Trump had said on Saturday that he was open to talking to Kim. It's not my understanding that they're going to talk about anything further.

This week the US and South Korea agreed to suspend military exercises off the Korean Peninsula until after the Winter Olympic Games.

Trump calls that "a big start".

As well as the Olympics, the two sides could bring up their own priority issues, which analysts say will be much more challenging.

On Sunday, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley stated there would be "no turnaround" in United States policy regarding engaging in negotiations with North Korea, although President Donald Trump previously confirmed willingness to coordinate peace talks during a press conference at Camp David. "If something can happen and something come out of those talks, that would be a great thing for all of humanity, that would be a great thing for the world", he said.

Moon also hopes that better inter-Korean relations will pave the way for the resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue and for broader talks between the United States and the North.

The United States and South Korea agreed last week to delay the Foal Eagle and Key Resolve exercises until after the Games, apparently to help ease nerves.

Baek said other issues aimed at boosting cooperation between the two Koreas will be discussed.

This photo, taken January 8, 2018, shows Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon. That conflict ended in a ceasefire and technically the two sides remain at war. North Korea's chief negotiator is Ri Son-gwon, chairman of North Korea's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland (CPRF), another veteran negotiator who has represented the North at a variety of military talks and both working-level and high-level talks with South Korea. CPRF Director Hwang Chung-song is expected to be the counterpart of Ahn Mun-hyeon, deputy director general of the Office of the Prime Minister.

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