Donald Trump says summit with Kim Jong Un still on the cards

by Garry Watts May 27, 2018, 13:43
Donald Trump says summit with Kim Jong Un still on the cards

The Korean leaders' second summit in a month Saturday saw bear hugs and broad smiles, but their quickly arranged meeting appears to highlight a sense of urgency on both sides of the world's most heavily armed border.

"Moon essentially helped relay messages from Trump to Kim and vice versa, to further smooth the process and to resume negotiations", he told AFP, saying the Singapore meeting was "clearly back on track". He said there is a "lot of good will" and denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula would be "a great thing".

"Chairman Kim requested a meeting without any formality two days ago and I gladly accepted it", Mr. Moon said, noting that the summit was in line with previous agreements for the two leaders to meet more often. Worldwide journalists were present, but the USA government can't verify the site's destruction. -North Korean summit that he sees as the best way to ease animosity that had some fearing a war past year.

Mr Kim may see the sit-down with Mr Trump as necessary to easing pressure from crushing sanctions and to winning security assurances in a region surrounded by enemies.

"We are attempting to make sense of what, precisely, President Trump means", South Korean President Moon Jae-in' spokesperson Kim Eui-kyeom said, according to The Washington Post's Anna Fifield.

American officials are skeptical that Kim will ever fully abandon his nuclear arsenal, and Moon said North Korea is not yet convinced it can trust security guarantees from the United States.

On Friday, Trump indicated the summit could be salvaged after welcoming a conciliatory statement from North Korea saying it remained open to talks.

Mr. Moon and Mr. Kim agreed at a surprise meeting on Saturday that a possible North Korea-U.S. summit must be held successfully, Mr. Moon told a news conference in Seoul.

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FILE PHOTO: South Korean President Moon Jae-in is greeted by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during their summit at the truce village of Panmunjom, North Korea, in this handout picture provided by the Presidential Blue House on May 26, 2018.

They agreed to have their top officials meet again on June 1.

He praised Kim Jong-un for taking the initiative to talk, and, comparing the latest meeting to one between friends, he said that's how it should be.

The Trump administration has demanded that North Korea completely and irreversibly shutter its nuclear weapons program. The North hasn't openly repeated those same demands after Kim's sudden outreach to Seoul and Washington.

"Kim stressed again that he had a firm determination towards complete denuclearisation", Moon told reporters Sunday. Moon's journey to Washington was largely to prepare Trump for the summit just weeks before it was set to take place.

Following an unusually provocative 2017 in which his engineers tested a purported thermonuclear warhead and three long-range missiles theoretically capable of striking mainland US cities, Kim has engaged in a flurry of diplomatic activity in recent months.

The two leaders embraced as Moon departed.

Footage released by the Blue House on Twitter, accompanied by a dramatic orchestral score, showed Moon arriving in a convoy of cars and first shaking hands with Kim's sister Kim Yo Jong, who has played a major public role in recent talks with the South.

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