Published: Tue, May 29, 2018
Worldwide | By Angelina Lucas

DPRK, US officials hold talks on Kim-Trump summit at Panmunjom

DPRK, US officials hold talks on Kim-Trump summit at Panmunjom

"Our United States team has arrived in North Korea to make arrangements for the summit between Kim Jong Un and myself", Mr Trump tweeted on Sunday.

During a telephone call, the pair "discussed recent developments in North Korea and confirmed they would meet again to continue close coordination in advance of the expected meeting between the United States and North Korea", a White House statement read.

On Monday, veteran American diplomat Sung Kim led an American delegation to Panmunjom at the demilitarised zone (DMZ) for talks with North Korean officials.

The White House said over the weekend that a separate team of officials was also on its way to Singapore, to lay the groundwork for a meeting.

Sung Kim, the former U.S. ambassador to South Korea and current ambassador to the Philippines, led that American delegation, an American official said.

Trump said "I'd rather not say" whether he has spoken with North Korea's leader. And in the meantime, he's really, I think, strengthened the hand of both Kim Jong Un and the Chinese, while making our allies even more nervous than they already are. U.S. officials said the most likely document would provide a framework for future negotiations, without going into great detail about what North Korea might be willing to give up or what steps the United States would take in exchange.

After weeks of political posturing by both Trump and Kim, analysts welcomed the news the United States had dispatched a team of seasoned negotiators to hold several days of preparatory talks with the North Koreans.

"With South Korea and China already talking to the North, it's hard for Trump to reignite his campaign at this point or after the summit fails", said Namkoong Young, who has advised South Korea's Unification Ministry and the Foreign Ministry on policy for nearly 10 years.

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The phone conversation took place before Trump went to Arlington National Cemetery for a Memorial Day ceremony.There the president made no reference to the situation on the Korean peninsula in his 22-minute scripted remarks.

Less than a week ago, Trump had announced that he was pulling out of the summit, accusing North Korea of "tremendous anger and open hostility".

The meeting was the latest dramatic turn in a week of diplomatic ups and downs surrounding the prospects for an unprecedented summit between the United States and North Korea, and the strongest sign yet that the leaders of the two Koreas are trying to keep the on-again off-again meeting on track.

CNN's Brooke Baldwin began by asking Ford why Trump got "outplayed" by North Korea.

North Korea has tested dozens of missiles of various types in the past two years, including one launch of its largest-ever intercontinental ballistic missile, which is theoretically capable of hitting anywhere in the United States, on 29 November.

It has long said it is open to eventually giving up its nuclear arsenal if the USA withdraws its troops from South Korea and ends its "nuclear umbrella" alliance with Seoul.

According to NHK, Japan's public broadcaster, Abe - who was meeting with President Vladimir Putin of Russian Federation over the weekend - conveyed both Japan's and Russia's support for the summit meeting to go forward.

"In Trump's thinking, his "maximum pressure" would've resulted in Kim kneeling and returning to dialogue in surrender anyway if it reached the boiling point", he added.

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