South Korean president could join Trump at N. Korea summit

Leroy Wright
June 1, 2018

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Monday there could be more impromptu talks and summits with North Korea's Kim Jong Un, as US officials sought to revive what would be a historic meeting between President Donald Trump and Kim.

In addition to the talks in Panmunjeom, Trump also hinted that the two sides met in the US.

If confirmed, the visit would be part of a flurry of activity ahead of the proposed meeting between Mr Kim and US President Donald Trump. White House officials characterized the letter as a negotiating tactic, created to bring the North back to the table after a provocative statement and a decision to skip planning talks and ignore preparatory phone calls.

When he was asked by a reporter at the Beijing airport if he was flying to Singapore for talks with the USA, he said he was "going there to play", according to footage from Nippon TV. That suggests Kim might have chosen to first go to NY because it would make it easier for him to communicate with officials in Pyongyang, North Korea's capital. Kim was seen in the Beijing airport on Tuesday by Associated Press Television.

"We have put a great team together for our talks with North Korea", Mr Trump said in a Twitter post on Tuesday.

"Meetings are now taking place concerning Summit, and more", the president tweeted. He also was a bodyguard to Kim Jong-il, the former leader and late father of Kim Jong-un, according to North Korea Leadership Watch, an affiliate of the 38 North think tank. "Solid response to my letter, thank you!"

A top North Korean official is traveling to the United States to lay the groundwork for the off-again, on-again talks between dictator Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump.

A top North Korean general is headed for the United States in what would be the highest-profile visit in years, reports said Tuesday as the two countries prepare for a momentous summit.

Schriver, a former deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific security affairs, accompanied Pompeo to Pyongyang in early May.

Sung Kim, the former USA ambassador to South Korea and current ambassador to the Philippines, led the U.S. delegation, an official told Reuters.

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Over a hundred have died and thousands have been wounded since the "Great March of Return" began two months ago. A demonstrator waves a Palestine flag during a pro-Palestine rally in New York City, U.S., May 18, 2018.

The South Korean president told reporters his North Korean counterpart is willing to cooperate with President Trump in working towards peace and ending confrontation.

He would be the highest-level North Korean official to travel to the US since 2000.

Many expert observers expect Kim, perhaps with tacit Chinese backing, to demand that Washington also reduce its own military footprint in South Korea and loosen its guarantees to treaty ally Japan.

Trump and Kim Jong Un were set to meet June 12 in Singapore, but Trump last week announced he was pulling out. Rubio has been a leader of the charge against Trump's plans to ease the restrictions on ZTE that were imposed after it broke USA sanctions by selling products to Iran and North Korea.

The White House emphasized that it has remained in close contact with South Korean and Japanese officials as preparations for the talks continue. Other delegation members left the hotel in a white minibus.

"But, as the president has said", she added, "if it doesn't happen June 12 it could happen thereafter".

North Korean state-run news agency KCNA reported on Sunday that Kim had told Moon it was his "fixed will" to hold the summit with Trump.

During that period North Korea ramped up its hacking programmes, including a hugely costly penetration of Sony Pictures that was seen as an attempt to stop the release of an American comedy film poking fun at the Kim Jong Un regime.

Kim joined Kim Jong Un in both of his two meetings with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in April and May, and hosted US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo when his visited Pyongyang most recently early this month. "These calls have been ongoing over the last couple of weeks". The Trump administration has pushed for a quick timeline, while North Korea favors a phased approach. Indeed, Trump's own reference broadly to such a connection and specifically his surprising softening of U.S. penalties on Chinese telecom company ZTE (sanctioned heavily by the United States for doing business with both North Korea and Iran) suggest Xi might indeed be angling to play several cards at once.

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