South Korean president says he delivered Trump's message to Kim Jong Un

May 28, 2018, 01:15
South Korean president says he delivered Trump's message to Kim Jong Un

North and South Korea's leaders held surprise talks on Saturday after President Donald Trump cast an uncertain pall over the turbulent Korean peninsula by cancelling a historic summit with Pyongyang only to suggest it might still go ahead.

Mr Trump then said from the White House that a "maximum pressure campaign" of economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation would continue against North Korea - with which the USA is technically still at war - though he added that it was possible the summit could still take place at some point.

His sights set on a meeting that has raised hopes for a halt in North Korea's nuclear weapons development, Mr Trump welcomed the North's conciliatory response to his Thursday letter withdrawing from the Singapore summit with Kim Jong Un.

Trump and Kim were scheduled to meet June 12 in Singapore to try to make a deal on North Korea's nuclear disarmament.

It was South Korean officials who first informed the U.S. earlier this year that Mr Kim was prepared to discuss potential nuclear disarmament. Trump, speaking after welcoming an American who had just returned to the US after being freed from jail in Venezuela, said that working level meetings with the North are ongoing at a location "not so far away from here" and they have "gone very very well". "We'd like to do it".

According to the presidential office, the two leaders met to discuss Kim's possible meeting with US President Donald Trump.

Trump told reporters at the White House that both sides would like the summit to happen.

On Thursday, he blamed the North's "open hostility" for the cancellation of his talks with Kim Jong-un.

He said, "North Korea regretted Trumps decision to cancel and remained open to resolving issues regardless of ways, at any time".

"Today's summit is aimed at resolving the misunderstanding caused by communication glitches between Washington and Pyongyang and lay the groundwork for the US-North Korea summit", he told AFP.

Trump's turnaround on the summit coming after blowback from Asia... "And, as a number of us have been saying all along, the most you can hope for out of any meeting is a statement of general principles that will guide future negotiations", said Wit, who also negotiated with the North Koreans while serving with the State Department.

The reaction from North Korea's long-serving point man on nuclear issues was markedly restrained, compared with renewed belligerent statements respectively issued earlier this month by him and his senior colleague at the Foreign Ministry.

But relations between the rival Koreas chilled in recent weeks, with North Korea canceling a high-level meeting with Seoul over South Korea's participation in regular military exercises with the USA and insisting that it will not return to talks unless its grievances are resolved.

At their first meeting on April 27, Moon and Kim agreed to pursue "complete" denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and to work toward a formal end to the 1950-1953 Korean War.

The meeting comes after President Trump cancelled the upcoming June 12th meeting amid renewed tensions with the North.

But other analysts said it's clear from the last few days the Trump administration - like other administrations before it - misunderstands Pyongyang, making it unlikely the summit can happen at all.

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