South and North Korean leaders in surprise meeting today

Cornelia Mascio
Mag 27, 2018

KCNA suggested following the summit that Kim was still interested in meeting with the US president.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Saturday to discuss the possible forthcoming US-North Korea summit, announced South Korea.

South Korea was caught off guard by Trump's abrupt cancellation of his summit with Kim, with the USA president citing hostility in recent North Korean comments.

The weekend meetings were the latest dramatic turn in a week of diplomatic ups and downs over the prospects for an unprecedented summit between the United States and North Korea, and the strongest sign yet that the leaders of the two Koreas are trying to keep the meeting on track.

"At the talks there were in-depth exchanges of opinions to tackle the matters which should be resolved to quickly carry out the Panmunjom Declaration agreed upon at the third North-South summit and to realize the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and achieve regional peace, stability and prosperity", KCNA said.

North and South Korea also agreed to hold high-level meetings on June 1.

But a North Korean Foreign Ministry official said Friday that Kim was still willing to meet with Trump "at any time". On Sunday (Seoul time), the USA leader said a June 12 summit was still a possibility.

Moon was expected on Sunday to reveal the outcome of the meeting.

The president chose to cancel the summit after North Korea attacked Pence for saying North Korea would end up like Libya if it did not reach a peaceful deal on its nuclear weapons during the summit.

"They very much want to do it; we'd like to do it", he said.

"There is ZERO disagreement within the Trump Administration as to how to deal with North Korea...and if there was, it wouldn't matter", Trump added via the social media platform.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, a staunch Kim ally, said the North Korean leader had in fact done "everything that he had promised in advance, even blowing up the tunnels and shafts" of his country's nuclear testing site.

President Donald Trump canceled his meeting with Kim last Thursday.

The North Korean government on Friday said it is still "willing to give the USA time and opportunities" to reconsider talks "at any time, at any format".

- Kim and I promise each other full and close bilateral cooperation to ensure an undisrupted journey toward permanent peace.

The two leaders embraced as Moon departed.

The two-hour meeting was held in the Demilitarized Zone that separates the two countries. Ahead of their first meeting last month, Kim and Moon established a hotline that they said would enable direct communication between the leaders and would be valuable to defuse crises, but it was unclear whether it was used to set up the latest meeting. The president appeared to be referring to a statement by Pyongyang on Thursday that warned of a "nuclear-to-nuclear showdown" with the United States.

- Kim hopes the Trump summit will "end the history of confrontation".

It follows a whirlwind 24 hours which saw Mr Trump cancel his highly anticipated meeting with the North Korean leader, which was due to take place on 12 June.

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