South Korean president on secret North Korea meeting: “Like a normal routine between friends”

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The unannounced meeting between the two Korean leaders came a month after their first summit, which was held on the South Korean side of Panmunjom on April 27.

Moon said that on Friday Kim had requested to meet him “without any formality” and the casual nature of the second meeting was “like a normal routine between friends.”

The meeting seemed to push forward momentum for a summit between Trump and Kim to take place, which would be the first time a sitting U.S. president would meet with a North Korean leader.

On Thursday, President Trump abruptly called off the meeting, which had been scheduled to be held on June 12 in Singapore, with a letter citing the “tremendous anger and open hostility” of recent communications from Pyongyang.

However, Trump changed course less than 24 hours later, tweeting on Friday that Washington was having “very productive talks” with North Korea about reinstating the summit, possibly on the same June 12 date and Singapore location.

Trump repeated that position on Saturday night. “We’re looking at June 12th in Singapore. That hasn’t changed,” he said in the Oval Office as he welcomed freed American Joshua Holt after his release from Venezuela.

Moon said that in his meeting with Kim he delivered the message that President Trump still has “a firm resolve to put an end to hostility against North Korea and work for economic cooperation with the North” if Pyongyang completely denuclearizes.

“I emphasized that it is necessary for the two sides to engage in direct talks to eliminate misunderstandings and have sufficient preliminary, working-level negotiations concerning the agenda that needs to be agreed upon at the summit,” Moon said, adding that Kim agreed.

The South Korean president said that the U.S. and North Korea would hold the working-level talks very soon to determine whether the summit would go forward. If the summit is successfully held, Moon said he hoped to follow up with a three-way meeting between the two Koreas and the U.S. to “formally end the (Korean) war.”

South and North Korea technically remain at war, as the Korean war ceased in 1953 with an armistice but not a peace treaty.

North Korea’s official state media also expressed Kim Jong Un’s desire to meet with Trump. In a statement released on Sunday, state news agency KCNA said that Kim Jong Un “expressed his fixed will” to hold the summit with Trump.


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