U.S. and North Korean officials huddled in the Korean truce village of Panmunjom for a second day Monday, hammering out details of a proposed summit amid media reports that South Korean President Moon Jae-in may attend the historic meeting.
“The discussions are just getting started, so we are still waiting to see how they come out, but … (Moon) could join President Trump and (North Korean leader) Kim (Jong Un) in Singapore,” a senior official with Moon’s office told Yonhap news agency on condition of anonymity.
The summit, aimed at bringing an end to Pyongyang’s nuclear program, was tentatively planned for Trump to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on June 12 in Singapore. Trump called it off last week after public discourse between the two nations devolved into a torrent of angry rhetoric.
Trump accused Kim of showing “open hostility” toward Washington, adding U.S. nuclear weapons are far superior to North Korea’s — and “so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used.”
Moon and Kim met Saturday, their second meeting in less than two months that’s further evidence of a thaw in relations. Moon said Kim said he looked forward to meeting with Trump and “made clear once again his intentions to completely denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.”
Trump began walking back the cancellation, and on Sunday announced U.S. officials were in North Korea making arrangements for the summit.
“I truly believe North Korea has brilliant potential and will be a great economic and financial Nation one day,” Trump graciously tweeted. “Kim Jong Un agrees with me on this. It will happen!”
The U.S. delegation in Panmunjom is led by Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, a former envoy to South Korea. The North Korean delegation includes Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui, whose bombastic statements apparently played a role in Trump’s short-lived decision to cancel the summit last week.
Moon and Kim have agreed to work on a plan to formally end the Korean War that was halted by a temporary armistice in 1953. Kim has said a formal end to the hostilities, along with a pledge from the U.S. not to attack his nation, would essentially eliminate Pyongyang’s need for a nuclear arsenal.
North Korea claims it dismantled its only known nuclear test site last week, detonating explosives and collapsing tunnels as a group of international journalists watched the destruction.
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