North Korea walks tightrope between U.S. and China

28 May 2018, 12:15 | Isaac Mcdaniel

Abe backs Trump's cancellation of U.S.-N. Korea summit

(LEAD) South Korea vows to faithfully implement summit agreement with NK

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.

A topsy-turvy week on the Korean peninsula ended with a secret Saturday summit between the rival Korean leaders, in which North Korea's Kim Jong Un again made a commitment to denuclearization.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Saturday that the "pre-advance team for Singapore will leave as scheduled in order to prepare should the summit take place".

A group of USA officials crossed into North Korea on Sunday for talks on preparations for a summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, according to The Washington Post.

"With South Korea and China already talking to the North, it's hard for Trump to reignite his campaign at this point or after the summit fails", said Namkoong Young, who has advised South Korea's Unification Ministry and the Foreign Ministry on policy for nearly 10 years.

The Singapore summit had gone through a dizzying sequence of cancellations and restarts, as the world holds its breath hoping for a chance to defuse the nuclear standoff between North Korea and the U.S.

"I think people want to see if we can get the meeting and get something done".

In a statement from North Korea's state news agency, KCNA, Kim expressed "his fixed will" on the possibility of meeting with Trump, Reuters reported.

She has also served as a nuclear negotiator and led the US affairs division in the North Korean Foreign Ministry until being promoted to vice foreign minister this year.

While maintaining that Mr. Kim is commited to denuclearisation, Mr. Moon acknowledged Pyongyang and Washington may have differing expectations of what that means, and he urged both sides to hold working-level talks to resolve their differences.

She also said it was up to the Americans whether they would "meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown".

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Kim did not ask for US military forces to be withdrawn from the South when he met President Moon on April 27.

North Korea has been subjected to numerous rounds of worldwide sanctions since 2006, which has cut off most of its exports and capped its imports of oil.

"Kim said he'll end the history of war and confrontation and cooperate to bring peace and prosperity through a successful North Korea-U.S. summit".

Moon Jae-in with Kim Jong Un on Saturday.

Mr Kim has indicated he wants a phased approach, with his steps met by reciprocal ones from the USA and the South - mainly on sanctions but also easing of the USA military presence in South Korea.

Mr Kim announced he was suspending nuclear tests and held his landmark summit with Mr Moon last month, where the pair agreed to work to rid the peninsula of nuclear weapons.

"Trump said preparation meetings are going on "as we speak in a certain location which I won't name", like the location, it's not very far from here".

"A USA delegation is in ongoing talks with North Korean officials at Panmunjom", State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said, referring to a village in the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ).

Surprised Singaporeans pursued North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Sunday before realising the portly man with slick black hair near the Marina Bay Sands hotel was an impersonator. Allison Hooker, a Korea specialist on the National Security Council, is reportedly also part of the team.

Andrei Lankov, from Kookmin University in Seoul, said North Korea's fear of what might happen next likely pushed Pyongyang back on track for the summit. The two Koreas are technically still at war, with the 1950-53 Korean War having ended in an armistice.



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