Published: Sun, May 27, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

North Korea talks might happen after all

North Korea talks might happen after all

The two leaders met just north of the heavily militarised border in the afternoon to exchange views to pave the way for a summit between North Korea and the United States, South Korea's presidential office said.

In this handout image provided by South Korean Presidential Blue House, South Korean President Moon Jae-in (Right) hugs with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (Left) before their meeting on Saturday.

Preparations for Donald Trump's summit with North Korea's Kim Jong Un are back on, following a meeting today (May 26) between Kim and South Korea's Moon Jae-in.

A statement from North Korea's state news agency KCNA said Kim expressed "his fixed will" on the possibility of meeting with Trump as previously planned on June 12.

The White House confirmed on Saturday that an advance team of officials would leave for Singapore this weekend, as originally scheduled, to prepare for the possible summit.

Tensions were calmed after Kim extended an olive branch by offering to send a delegation to the Winter Olympics in South Korea, sparking a sudden detente that led to Trump agreeing to hold direct talks with Pyongyang.

Moon will announce the result of his meeting with Kim on Sunday morning local time, the South Korean statement said. Moon then walked inside and shook hands with Kim Jong Un and posed for a photo in front of a large landscape painting, video clips show.

But relations between the rival Koreas have chilled in recent weeks, with North Korea cancelling a high-level meeting with Seoul over South Korea's participation in regular military exercises with the US.

South Korea, a longtime US ally, was not notified ahead of time before Trump's letter canceling with Kim was made public.

In the first summit, the two leaders agreed to pursue the "complete denuclearization" and a permanent peace settlement to replace the armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War.

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USA officials have talked about a comprehensive one-shot deal in which North Korea fully eliminates its nukes first and receives rewards later. U.S. officials subsequently revealed that North Korea officials had failed to meet them for a pre-summit preparatory meeting in Singapore, and were not responding to U.S. communications.

"We'll see what happens", Mr. Trump said.

Despite the letter, Trump maintained Friday that Washington was having "productive talks" with Pyongyang about reinstating the June 12 meeting.

Before he canceled the summit, Trump this past week did not rule out an incremental approach that would provide incentives along the way to the North.

"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.

-North Korea summit a success, the presidential Blue House said Saturday.

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

North Korea responded in kind, with First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan saying that his country still wanted to pursue peace and said it would give Washington time to reconsider talks.

Pyongyang has conducted six nuclear tests, and has developed a long-range missile that could theoretically hit anywhere in the United States.

The two leaders met for two hours Saturday and "frankly" discussed how to make the U.S. The person, who asked not to be identified discussing internal matters, said the "maximum pressure" campaign to strangle North Korea's economy is working, and Kim's regime will have to come to the table eventually.

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