Moon, Kim discuss scrapped summit as Donald Trump signals optimism

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in met for the second time in a month on Saturday, holding a surprise summit at a border truce village to discuss Kim's potential meeting with President Donald Trump, Moon's office said.

Politico magazine reported that an advance team of 30 White House and State Department officials was preparing to leave for Singapore later this weekend.

They were accompanied by South Korean intelligence chief Suh Hoon and his North Korean counterpart Kim Yong Chol, who is in charge of inter-Korean affairs.

"Unlike what the Failing and Corrupt New York Times would like people to believe, there is ZERO disagreement within the Trump Administration as to how to deal with North Korea.and if there was, it wouldn't matter".

Reuters reported earlier this week that a USA advance team was scheduled to discuss the agenda and logistics for the summit with North Korean officials.

South Korea was caught off guard by Trump's abrupt cancellation of his summit with Kim, with the USA president citing hostility in recent North Korean comments.

"They exchanged views and discussed ways to implement the Panmunjom Declaration and to ensure a successful US North Korea summit", Seoul's presidential Blue House said in a statement, adding Moon would make a personal statement on Sunday morning.

Koh Yu-hwan, am 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.

He said, if the summit does happen it will likely remain in Singapore and be on that same June 12 date.

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But the latest developments also exemplified how quickly aspirations for successful talks between North Korea and the USA - which remain technically at war - can rise and fall.

The summit, set for June 12, was jeopardized when, on May 11, the US and South Korea started a two-week annual air combat regional exercise, viewed by Pyongyang as a threat to its security. Trump cited "open hostility" from the North as his reason for backing out.

Asked Friday if North Korea was playing games ahead of the summit, the president responded, "Everyone plays games".

"They very much want to do it; we'd like to do it", he said. At that meeting, they declared they would work towards a nuclear-free Korean peninsula and a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War.

US officials argue that the administration has already won a great deal from North Korea, including a moratorium on missile testing and the release of three American prisoners, without giving up anything in return. The plan followed months of war threats and insults between the leaders over North Korea's development of missiles capable of reaching the United States.

Moon said Trump's decision left him "perplexed" and was "very regrettable".

Comments in North Korea's state media indicate Kim sees any meeting with Trump as an arms control negotiation between nuclear states, rather than a process to surrender his nukes.

Joel Wit, founder of the respected 38 North website that monitors North Korea, said Kim's hand has been strengthened regardless of whether the summit goes ahead because recent weeks have seen him forge connections with Chinese President Xi Jinping, as well as with Russian Federation and South Korea. "The US called off the summit, so the Chinese probably feel they've done what they can". It's a gulf which does not appear to have narrowed despite two, rare trips to Pyongyang by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to meet with Kim.

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