North and South Korean leaders meet again at border

May 27, 2018, 00:45
North and South Korean leaders meet again at border

Trump notably did not inform the South Koreans before canceling the summit Thursday - White House officials said Trump feared news would leak to the press if he informed allies.

However, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said that an "advance team" of White House and U.S. State Department officials would leave for Singapore as scheduled this weekend to prepare for a possible summit there.

The reversal followed a warning from North Korean vice minister of foreign affairs Choe Son Hui overnight Wednesday that Pyongyang could "make the USA taste an appalling tragedy it has neither experienced nor even imagined".

While the president did not detail the nature of the new US communication with the North on Friday, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said at the Pentagon, "The diplomats are still at work on the summit, possibility of a summit, so that is very good news". (Graphics on "Nuclear North Korea" - tmsnrt.rs/2xcSz2c). Moon was accompanied by South Korea's national intelligence service chief, Suh Hoon.

Photos released by South Korea's presidential office showed Moon arriving at the northern side of the Panmunjom truce village and shaking hands with Kim's sister, Kim Yo Jong, before sitting down with Kim for their summit.

Image: The leaders speaking in the DMZ.

On Friday, Mr. Trump said that his administration was back in touch with North Korea and the two sides may reschedule his the meeting with Kim Jong-un, perhaps even on the original June 12 date.

The president first discussed re-entering peace talks early Friday when he tweeted, "Very good news to recieve the warm and productive statement from North Korea".

Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had a candid exchange of opinions about their own peace efforts as well as the hoped-for meeting between Kim and President Donald Trump, according to Moon's office.

"We see it as fortunate that the embers of dialogue between North Korea and the United States weren't fully extinguished and are coming alive again", Seoul's presidential spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said in a statement.

"It was a very nice statement they put out", Trump said at the White House.

Asked if it was playing games ahead of the summit, the president responded, "Everyone plays games", adding, "We'll see what happens, it could even be the 12th". "You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used", Trump wrote. "The Korean train for peace is moving and if the USA wants to be a part of it, they better get moving".

After decades of tension on the Korean Peninsula and antagonism with the United States over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program, Kim and Trump agreed to what would be the first meeting between a serving US president and a North Korean leader. Washington and Pyongyang will blame the other for failure, and we could very well go back to the same set of conditions that brought us to the brink of war previous year, or worse: missile and nuclear tests followed by threats of a military strike.

The POTUS cancelled the highly-anticipated meeting on Thursday after blaming "tremendous anger and open hostility" by Pyongyang.

"North Korea will have to propose more detailed plans for denuclearization if it wants to talk in the future", said Go Myong-hyun, an analyst at the Asan Institute of Policy Studies. By this logic, Kim Jong-un may feel he has given too much already by declaring a voluntary freeze of nuclear and missile tests, dismantling the nuclear weapons test site at Punggye-ri, and letting the three American detainees go, when the United States has not given anything in return.

Dozens of global journalists left North Korea on Saturday after observing the demolition of the underground tunnels in Punggye-ri, where all of the North's six nuclear tests were conducted.

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