Monday, 20 August, 2018

Trump Revives Hope for June 12 Summit With Kim in Singapore

North Korea-US summit on track, says Moon, after candid talks with 'friend' Kim Jong-un Kim Jong-un committed to complete denuclearisation, says Moon Jae-in after North-South 'surprise' summit
Leonard Rios | 31 May, 2018, 23:15

U.S. negotiators, headed by Washington's current ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, met North Korean counterparts in the truce village of Panmunjom that divides the two Koreas on Sunday.

A banner for "The Interview" is posted outside Arclight Cinemas in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles.

"The President held a second summit with Chairman Kim Jong-un at Tongil-gak on the North Korean side of Panmunjom from 3 p.m. through 5 p.m. on (May) 26", Moon's Chief Press Secretary Yoon Young-chan said in a statement.

But within 24 hours he reversed course, saying it could still go ahead after productive talks were held with North Korean officials.

She was referring to talks over the weekend between USA and North Korean officials in the demilitarized zone dividing the two Koreas and a White House logistics team's discussions with North Korean counterparts in Singapore.

"This is more than a reciprocal visit", said Zhao Tong, a nuclear policy research fellow at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy. That suggests Kim might have chosen to first go to NY because it would make it easier for him to communicate with officials in Pyongyang, North Korea's capital.

On Thursday, Trump abruptly cancelled the proposed summit meeting with the North Korean leader on June 12 in Singapore and blamed Pyongyang's "tremendous anger" and "open hostility" for his dramatic decision. They accuse the previous South Korean administration of kidnapping them and have asked for their return, while Seoul of course says they defected of their own free will.

Kim Yong Chol, one of Kim Jong Un's top lieutenants, is apparently playing a major role in rescheduling the meeting. "In some ways, Kim Jong Un may have met his match here with our very unconventional president". He wears many important hats.

North Korea has been keeping China in the loop regarding its recent surge in diplomacy with South Korea and the USA, and Lavrov's trip may be aimed at doing the same for Russian Federation, which was part of a stalled six-party process to bring about the North's denuclearization. In fact, he's a self-made man who has worked his way up to serve three generations of the Kim dynasty.

"If the report that Kim Yong Chol is on his way to Washington is true, we now know that the main discussion of the agenda and any possible deal will take place there, not in Panmunjom".

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Kim led the delegation that hosted Pompeo on a brief visit to North Korea earlier this month, greeting him at the airport and also bidding him farewell at the steps of his plane. He would need a travel waiver to come to NY.

A vice chairman of the ruling Workers' Party, Kim Yong Chol has been deeply involved in North Korean diplomacy this year.

Kim is also widely believed to be behind the 2010 sinking of the Cheonan, a South Korean Naval vessel, in which 46 seamen died.

But Washington wants North Korea's nuclear program to be the focal point.

Tuesday witnessed North Korea's former spy chief Kim Yong-chol at Beijing worldwide airport heading to the United States for talks.

North Korea has faced years of isolation and economic sanctions over its nuclear and missile programs since it conducted its first nuclear test in 2006. "But it's hardly imaginable that it would completely dismantle its core nuclear facilities".

Despite the cancellation, talks about the summit have continued, including a meeting between North Korean and USA delegations on Sunday.

Photos released by South Korea's presidential office showed Moon arriving at the North Korean side of the Panmunjom truce village and shaking hands with Kim's sister, Kim Yo Jong, before sitting down with Kim for their summit. -North Korea summit on track.

"We're looking at June 12 in Singapore".

The North Korean official was confirmed to be on flight CA981 bound for NY.

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