Seoul: North Korea committed to US summit, denuclearization

Seoul: North Korea committed to US summit, denuclearization

South Korea's presidential Blue House announced Saturday that earlier in the day, President Moon Jae-in held a secret meeting with North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, in an effort to keep diplomacy between Washington and Pyongyang alive.

The Trump administration is demanding that North Korea completely and irreversibly shutter its nuclear weapons program.

Mr Trump had left the door open by saying in a letter to Mr Kim that "wonderful dialogue" had recently taken place and that he was still looking forward to meeting the North Korean leader.

But within 24 hours he reversed course saying it could still go ahead ahead after productive talks were held with North Korean officials. Mr. Kim Jong-un's comments published by the newspaper did not include any mention of his potential meeting with Mr. Trump.

In Pyongyang, North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan said North Korea's criticisms had been a reaction to USA rhetoric and that current antagonism showed "the urgent necessity" for the summit.

Specifically, Moon and Kim will hold "high-level talks" on Friday, the agency added.

"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 to Kim.

If the summit is not held, some analysts warn that the prospect of a military confrontation between the two nations would rise, while a successful summit would mark Trump's biggest foreign policy achievement.

An advance team of White House and State department officials is still planning on leaving for Singapore tomorrow, to work out logistics for the trip, Politico reports. Last year Trump and Kim were threatening war after Pyongyang tested its most powerful nuclear bomb to date and launched test missiles it said were capable of reaching the United States.

Pyongyang apparently felt uneasy about Washington's reported demand for a swift, stringent and unilateral denuclearization, while it favors a "phased, synchronous" approach that has been criticized as an attempt to string out negotiations and wring out more concessions.

But in recent weeks the summit had been thrown into doubt by increasingly bellicose rhetoric from both top USA administration officials and Pyongyang.

The tweet comes after the historic summit was called into question when Mr Trump pulled out on Thursday after talks deteriorated.

Mr Trump welcomed the North's conciliatory response to his Thursday letter withdrawing from the Singapore summit with Kim Jong-un.

The meeting between Trump and the North Korean Leader have been in doubt as a result of the demands for the meeting to happen.

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".

Their second-ever meeting took place in the demilitarised zone between the two countries.

Footage released by the Blue House showed Moon getting out of his presidential limousine and being greeted by Kim Yo-jong, the younger sister of Kim Jong-un, who wields considerable influence in the North.

National security adviser John Bolton made similar comments linking North Korea to Libya, which saw its leader, Muammar Gaddafi, forced from power with the help of NATO forces and then killed by US -backed rebels years after he agreed to give up his nuclear ambitions for sanctions relief.

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