Summit offers hope to son of American held in North Korea
22 March 2018, 01:25 | Isaac Mcdaniel
US pushes on with NKorea summit prep but what is Kim's plan
North Korea has broken its silence on the diplomatic thaw with Washington and Seoul, saying it is driving the "peace offensive" and rejecting suggestions that sanctions forced it to the negotiating table.
Notably absent from the commentary was a direct reference to planned summits between the North Korean ruler, Kim Jong-un, and South Korea's President Moon Jae-in in April, and a mooted meeting of Kim and Trump in May.
Quoting the message, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) wrote "I extend my heartfelt congratulations to you on your re-election as president of the Russian Federation".
North Korea has commented for the first time on the recent rapprochement on the peninsula, saying warming relations with Seoul and Washington are thanks to its "proactive measure and peace-loving proposal".
With Trump's recent sacking of several key administration officials, including former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, experts are asking whether this will result in a more hawkish US foreign policy.
Kim and Moon have made major steps to reduce tensions that reached dangerously high levels a year ago.
The North's state media has not reported any public activities by Kim since March 6, when it said he held talks with South Korean envoys. If that meeting takes place, Trump will be the first sitting US president to meet a North Korean leader; Washington and Pyongyang are still technically at war because the 1950-53 Korean War was halted with a truce rather than a peace treaty.
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"The North Korea-United States summit, which will follow the inter-Korean summit, will itself be a momentous event in world history", Moon said.
"If the summit is in Pyongyang, I would expect Kim Jong Un to put on a lavish military parade and perhaps a running of the mass games to appeal to President Trump and put him in as persuadable mood as possible", Stangarone said.
The South proposed sending a three-member delegation including chief delegate, Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon, to the border truce village of Panmunjom for talks Thursday next week to pave the way for the inter-Korean summit, the presidential Blue House said.
"The economy of the DPRK is rising", the commentary said, adding that advances in science and technology around the country are "promising the bright future for the improvement of the people's living standard".
"The dialogue peace offensive of the DPRK is an expression of self-confidence as it has acquired everything it desires", it said.
The commentary called on all parties involved to act with "prudence, self-control and patience".
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