High-level U.S., North Korea meeting not canceled despite uncertainty

Muriel Colon
May 26, 2018

The surprise meeting comes days after U.S. President Donald Trump's announcement that he would withdraw from a planned summit with Kim Jong Un, previously set to take place in Singapore on June 12.

South Korea says it feels relieved about the revived talks for a summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un over the future of Kim's nuclear weapons program.

Moon is scheduled to announce more details of the meeting Sunday.

"We're talking to them now", Trump said of the North Koreans.

Markets dropped drastically on the news that Trump had canceled the meeting yesterday, but quickly rebounded after Kim's statement was released.

The statement from Pyongyang appeared created to get the summit back on track after Trump cancelled their planned Singapore meeting, citing "tremendous anger and open hostility" in recent statements from North Korea.

"It could even be the 12th", he added.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters in Annapolis, Maryland, on Friday, that "we are working on plans going forward".

South Korea's presidential spokesman said in response: "We are cautiously optimistic that hope is still alive for US-North Korea dialogue".

The rare dialogue - the first time the Korean leaders met to hold talks since 2007 - came after months of improving relations between the two countries.

"I really believe Kim Jong Un wants to do what's right", the USA president said at one point.

Saturday's meeting between the leaders of North and South Korea marks a recent and gradual thaw in relations, which have been nearly caustic since the Korean peninsula was divided in 1945.

Trump, who spoke to reporters at the White House before heading to the Naval Academy graduation ceremony, stressed that both sides would like the summit to happen.

The North has said it will refuse to participate in talks where it would be unilaterally pressured to give up its nukes. In an apparent conciliatory statement Friday morning, North Korea also expressed its "willingness to sit down face-to-face with the US and resolve issues anytime and in any format".

Kim Kye Gwan said North Korea appreciated Trump for having made the bold decision to work toward a summit.

North Korea later said it was willing to talk "at any time in any form". "We'd like to do it", he said.

Trump appeared to take the turbulence in stride.

The comments came just a day after Mr Trump cancelled the meeting, citing Pyongyang's "open hostility". Addressing the world's media live on television for the first time, Kim said the Koreas "will be reunited as one country".

Moon said at a midnight emergency meeting of his security council on Thursday that "denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and the establishment of permanent peace are historic tasks that can neither be abandoned nor delayed". If the North makes any economic demands for the simple pleasure of a meeting-something it has done time and time again-then we will know that North Korea is simply trying to weaken the sanctions regime without making any concessions.

Trump said on Friday that Washington was having "productive talks" with Pyongyang about reinstating the June 12 meeting, just a day after cancelling it.

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