Published: Sun, April 01, 2018
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

South Korea to host talks ahead of inter-Korean summit

South Korea to host talks ahead of inter-Korean summit

China's top diplomat, State Councilor Yang Jiechi, arrived in Seoul Thursday to brief Moon on Kim's secretive visit to Beijing this week to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping for the first time. Opening diplomatic ties with Washington or withdrawal of part, or all, of some 28,000 USA troops stationed in the South could be other demands in exchange for terminating its nuclear and missile program.

Kim pledged that he was "committed to denuclearization" on the Korean peninsula, according to China's Xinhua news agency-but added this would depend on South Korea and the United States taking what he called "progressive and synchronous measures for the realization of peace".

Even more surprising was his pledge to denuclearise the Korean summit. Japan's Asahi newspaper said on Thursday Japan had sounded out the North Korean government about a bilateral summit. The new trade deal agreed upon is "going to level the playing field on steel and cars and trucks coming into this country", said the US President as he told the audience that he might hold it till he has a deal with North Korea.

"It is our consistent stand to be committed to denuclearisation on the peninsula, in accordance with the will of late president Kim Il-sung and late general secretary Kim Jong-il", Kim said, referring to his grandfather and father, according to the statement by China's foreign ministry.

In Sejong City, South Korean officials were scrambling to figure out what Trump means by tying trade to North Korea politics, South Korean news service Newsis reported Friday.

The North Korean leader's engagement with the worldwide community has sparked speculation that he may try to meet other leaders. The talks will precede musical performances in Pyongyang in early April by a group of South Korean singers.

Mr Trump welcomed a recent meeting between Mr Kim and Chinese President Xi Jinping, while calling for continued pressure on the isolated regime.

But in a concession to political realities in Washington, where lawmakers are increasingly focused on their re-elections in what is set to be a hard campaign cycle for Republicans, Trump said, "You're probably going to have to wait until after the election".

But, moments later, Trump reiterated his belief that the trade agreement he just made with South Korea was "wonderful".

At a post-conference briefing held at the House of Freedom in Panmunjom, Cho Myung-kyun, South Korea's Minister of Unification and representative at the talks reconfirmed that the summit will address the issue of denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and peaceful settlement of North-South relations.

Kim made the comments during a two-day trip by the delegation led by Chung Eui-yong, the head of the South's national security office, reports the Guardian.

The North's diplomatic outreach comes after an unusually provocative year in which it conducted its most powerful nuclear test to date and test-launched three intercontinental ballistic missiles created to target the USA mainland.

The White House said the two sides had reached a "great new KORUS agreement in principle" and it was up to Trump to decide when to finalize it. However, the North has yet to officially confirm its interest in a summit between Kim and Trump.

SEOUL-While North Korea's consent on summit talks with the South was greeted as a welcome development, the pressing issue of whether it will dismantle its nuclear weapons program remains anyone's guess.

On a subsequent visit to the United States, Moon's envoys brokered a potential meeting between Kim and Trump, who said he would meet the North Korean leader "by May".

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