Vietnam Time

5/27/2018 10:57:54 AM

North Korea's Kim hopes Trump summit will 'end history of confrontation': Moon

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un believes a summit with U.S. President Donald Trump will be a landmark opportunity to end decades of confrontation, South Korea's President Moon Jae-in said Sunday (May 27th) following his surprise meeting with Kim.

Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in held a surprise meeting in a bid to get U.S.-North Korea talks back on track. (AFP/handout)

"He also expressed his intention to put an end to the history of war and confrontation through the success of the North-U.S. summit and to cooperate for peace and prosperity," Moon told reporters, adding both he and Kim agreed to meet or talk in person "if necessary".

Earlier on Sunday, North Korea said its leader Kim was "fixed" on holding a summit with Trump, raising hopes the historic meeting might still take place after a turbulent few days of diplomatic brinkmanship.

The latest conciliatory declaration from Pyongyang came as the White House confirmed it was sending a team to Singapore to prepare for the June 12 summit - a further signal that both sides were moving to cool tensions following a rollercoaster few days on the Korean Peninsula.

Trump rattled the region on Thursday by cancelling his meeting with Kim, citing "open hostility" from Pyongyang.

But within 24 hours he reversed course, saying it could still go ahead after productive talks were held with North Korean officials.

Trump's unpredictability sparked a sudden and surprise meeting on Saturday between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in - only the fourth time leaders from the two countries have ever met - as they scrambled to get the talks back on track.

Pictures showed them shaking hands and embracing on the North Korean side of the Demilitarised Zone separating the two nations.

Kim "expressed his fixed will on the historic DPRK-U.S. summit talks" during the talks with Moon, the state-run KCNA news agency said in a report released Sunday, using the official abbreviation for North Korea.

"Kim Jong Un told Moon Jae-in to positively cooperate with each other as ever to improve the DPRK-U.S. relations and establish mechanism for permanent and durable peace," the report added, saying South and North Korea would hold another round of "high-level" talks on June 1st.

The presidential Blue House in Seoul said the two sides discussed ways to improve ties "and to ensure a successful US North Korea summit", adding Moon would give an update Sunday morning.

"RESOLVING THE MISUNDERSTANDING"

Saturday's meeting between Moon and Kim took place on the North Korean side of Panmunjom, a heavily fortified village that lies between the two countries and marks the spot where the armistice ending the Korean War in 1953 was signed.

Only last month, the two leaders met in the same village, with Kim famously inviting Moon to step briefly into the North before they both held talks in a building on the South's side.

Koh Yu-hwan, an expert on Korean relations at Dongguk University, said Saturday's meeting between Moon and Kim increased the likelihood of the Singapore summit taking place as originally intended.

"Today's summit is aimed at resolving the misunderstanding caused by communication glitches between Washington and Pyongyang and lay the groundwork for the U.S.-North Korea summit," he told AFP.

Unlike last month's summit, which was held in front of live TV cameras, Saturday's meeting took place in utmost secrecy, with reporters only being told later that the face-to-face had taken place.

Footage released by the Blue House on Twitter, accompanied by a dramatic orchestral score, showed Moon arriving in a convoy of cars and first shaking hands with Kim's sister Kim Yo Jong, who has played a major public role in recent talks with the South./.

VNF/CNA  
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