Friday, 22 June, 2018

Moon steps in when Trump and Kim fall out

27 2018 by South Korea Presidential Blue House via Yonhap News Agency South Korean President Moon Jae-in right is guided by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un left at the northern side of Panmunjom in North K Trump: Plan for June summit with North Korea 'hasn't changed'
Gerardo Duncan | 29 May, 2018, 11:34

USA stock futures rose in Asian trading as President Donald Trump appeared to confirm the summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was back on, three days after it was abruptly called off.

The American president said the summit could go ahead as planned following a more appeasing statement from Pyongyang and productive talks with North Korean officials.

If his trip is confirmed, Kim Yong Chol would be the most senior North Korean official to meet with top officials in the United States since Jo Myong Rok, a marshal, met with then-President Bill Clinton at the White House in 2000.

When Donald Trump abruptly scrapped their planned summit, Kim Jong Un sought out someone he knew would come over for a chat: South Korean leader Moon Jae-in.

The White House said over the weekend that a separate team of officials was also on its way to Singapore, to lay the groundwork for a meeting.

Trump also confirmed that USA officials are in North Korea to continue preparations for the summit, which, if held, would take place in Singapore June 12.

On Sunday, Mr Trump said a team from the USA had arrived in North Korea to make arrangements for the summit, saying it would help the North achieve its "brilliant potential".

"At this point, the chances of a Trump-Kim summit appear better than ever", said Adam Mount, a senior defense analyst at the Federation of American Scientists. Analysts said Mr Moon - who seems to have built trust with Mr Kim through two summits in a month - can help to bridge the gap between the U.S. and North Korea and mediate if necessary.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tapped veteran American diplomat Sung Kim, the US ambassador to the Philippines, to handle the main pre-summit negotiations in the DMZ border village of Panmunjom.

A surprise meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in occurred Saturday on the North Korean side of the shared inter-Korean area of Panmunjom.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, toast after an opening ceremony of the cross-cultural year of Russia and Japan at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow, Russia last week.

According to reports, Trump has demanded that Pyongyang carry out a swift denuclearisation approach, while North Korea reportedly favours a gradual drawdown.

"For him, the permanent presence of U.S. forces thousands of miles from home is a curse and a burden, and it is time other countries looked after their own security".

Government sources have said Abe may visit the United States before a summit of leaders from the Group of Seven industrialized nations in Canada on June 8 and 9.

"Chairman Kim agreed on that", he added.

US lawmakers said that while renewed discussions about the Trump-Kim summit are a positive step, the USA can't give away too much and should be wary of any supposed commitments coming from Mr. Kim.

Pentagon official Randall Schriver was part of the U.S. team, the official said.

Earlier this month, the president scrapped a meeting with Kim because of a harsh statement made by North Korea.

President Donald Trump halted new sanctions aimed at putting pressure on Kim Jong Un.

It would be the first meeting between sitting leaders of the U.S. and North Korea.

"We believe that it is necessary to establish a hotline between North Korea and the United States", Moon said at a press conference on Sunday.

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