The leaders of North and South Korea met for two hours Saturday to discuss the canceled summit with Donald Trump, less than a day after the US leader signaled the meeting may be back on citing “very productive” talks between the two countries.
South Korea’s Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, in a surprise move, spent two hours together at the truce village of Panmunjom, and had a candid discussion about the potential US-Korea meeting, Moon’s office said in text message. Moon will brief the media on the unexpected meeting at 10 am on Sunday, his office said.
Trump on May 25 said the historic June summit with Kim could go ahead following talks between the two countries.
“We are having very productive talks with North Korea about reinstating the Summit which, if it does happen, will likely remain in Singapore on the same date, June 12th, and, if necessary, will be extended beyond that date,” Trump said in
Moon crossed the border to meet Kim at the Tongilgak building in an area of Panmunjom controlled by North Korea. They discussed how to implement the Panmunjom Declaration and the success of a potential Trump-Kim meeting, according to the text from the president’s office.
Trump abruptly cancelled the planned summit in a letter to Kim on Thursday — and then pivoted a day later. “We are talking to them now,” he told reporters in Washington, saying the summit might proceed and “it could even be the 12th.”
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters in Annapolis, Maryland, on Friday, that “we are working on plans going forward.”
While there are always “high points and low points” in diplomacy, she said, “we hope that the meeting will go forward at some point.”
The comments reflected a broadly shared perception inside the White House and State Department that the two leaders still want to get together and there will be a meeting eventually. “We would like to do it,” Trump said, and “they very much like to do it.”
Less than a year after the two leaders traded threats of nuclear war, the back-and-forth over whether the summit will even happen reflects both Trump’s lead-from-the-gut style of decision-making and North Korea’s long-standing penchant for unpredictable behaviour.
US Claims Successes
US officials argue that the administration has already won a great deal from North Korea, including a moratorium on missile testing and the release of three American prisoners, without giving up anything in return. A White House-led advance team is heading to Singapore this weekend as previously planned to deal with the logistics of a potential summit, Politico reported.