Friday, 22 June, 2018

North, South Korean Leaders Vow To Meet ‘Frequently’

South Korean President Moon Jae-in left shakes hands with Kim Yo Jong center sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un South Korean President Moon Jae-in left shakes hands with Kim Yo Jong center sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Source 1 NEWS
Gerardo Duncan | 28 May, 2018, 17:02

Moon had just returned to Seoul after meeting with Trump at the White House. During Saturday's inter-Korean summit, the Korean leaders agreed to "positively cooperate with each other as ever to improve (North Korea)-U.S. relations and establish (a) mechanism for permanent and durable peace".

But the delicate diplomacy had appeared to be in jeopardy in recent days after North Korea threatened to pull out of the meeting over joint military exercises by the US and South Korea in the region - and over comments by John Bolton, Trump's national security adviser, suggesting the administration may be seeking regime change.

The last time two weeks ago that a White House delegation traveled in advance of the planned summit they were stood up by their North Korean counterparts.

Trump scrapped the meeting in a letter to Kim on Thursday after repeated threats by North Korea to pull out over what it saw as confrontational remarks by US officials demanding unilateral disarmament.

The two-hour meeting was held in the Demilitarized Zone that separates the two countries.

South Korean officials released photos of the two leaders shaking hands and in embrace.

KCNA said Moon signed the visitors' book in Thongil House where the meeting took place, writing "Peace and Prosperity of the Korean Peninsula, together with Chairman Kim Jong Un".

"The Failing @nytimes quotes 'a senior White House official, ' who doesn't exist, as saying 'even if the meeting were reinstated, holding it on June 12 would be impossible, given the lack of time and the amount of planning needed, '" Trump tweeted.

The White House has not yet responded to a request for comment on the Saturday meeting.

Earlier on Friday, speaking to reporters outside the White House in Washington, the USA president indicated that the summit could still be salvaged, saying: "We're gonna see what happens". He did not confirm how the secret meeting was arranged or which side asked for it. "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.

But he left the door open to future meetings and Pyongyang's immediate reaction was to say it was willing to sit down "at any time", prompting Trump to reply that the Singapore summit could still take place.

In Washington, Trump signalled that preparations for the summit with Kim were going ahead.

The thaw between North and South Korea comes after a tense 2017, in which multiple missile tests by North Korea prompted an worldwide outcry and an exchange of insults and threats between Kim and Trump.

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