On-Again Off-Again Meeting May Be Back On: Trump

The Saturday meeting is the strongest sign yet that the two Korean leaders are trying to keep the highly anticipated summit on track.

What you need to know
  • Donald Trump says the U.S. is having 'very productive' talks with North Korea about the Summit
  • South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have met for the second time in as many months
  • The meeting was held to help ensure the U.S.-North Korea Summit takes place

South Korean President Moon Jae-in met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Saturday for the second time in an effort to ensure that a high-stakes summit between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump takes place successfully.

The on-again off-again meeting was looking positive on Sunday morning following an overnight tweet from Donald Trump suggesting the U.S. and North Korea were having "very productive talks" about reinstating the Summit.

Trump said the Summit -- "if it does happen" -- will likely remain in Singapore on June 12.

The Saturday meeting was the latest dramatic turn in a week of diplomatic flip-flops surrounding the prospects for an unprecedented summit between the United States and North Korea, and the strongest sign yet that the two Korean leaders are trying to keep the highly anticipated summit on track.

Their talks at the Panmunjom border village, which South Korean officials said lasted two hours, came a month after they held the first inter-Korean summit in more than a decade at the same venue. At that meeting, they declared they would work toward a nuclear-free Korean peninsula and a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War.

“The two leaders candidly exchanged views about making the North Korea-U.S. summit a successful one and about implementing the Panmunjom Declaration,” South Korea’s presidential spokesman said in a statement. He did not confirm how the meeting was arranged or which side asked for it.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met South Korean President Moon Jae-in for the second time on Saturday. Source: Korea Blue House

A statement from North Korea’s state news agency KCNA said Kim expressed “his fixed will” on the possibility of meeting with Trump as previously planned on June 12.

It also said Kim and Moon agreed to hold high-level talks between their two nations on June 1, and to take steps to quickly implement their efforts to denuclearize the peninsula. KCNA said the leaders also agreed to meet frequently.

The agency said the two leaders had reached a “satisfactory consensus” and expressed “their stand to make joint efforts for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”

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This is the second meeting between the leaders in as many months. Source: Korea Blue House

The White House did not respond to a request for comment on the meeting. But White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said an advance team of White House and U.S. State Department officials would leave for Singapore on schedule this weekend to prepare for a possible summit there.

“There is a very strong possibility a U.S.-North Korea summit could be back on very soon,” said Harry Kazianis of the conservative Center for the National Interest think-tank in Washington.

Whether one takes place depends on Kim agreeing to some sort of a realistic and verifiable denuclearization plan, added Kazianis, citing his own Trump administration sources. “If not, no summit. That is what it hinges on,” he said.

With Reuters