The leaders of the two Koreas held a surprise in-person meeting Saturday amid speculation that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may yet attend a summit with President Donald Trump next month.
Kim met South Korean President Moon Jae-in in the village of Panmunjom, which is located in the demilitarized zone between the two nations, Fox News reported.
“The two leaders candidly exchanged views about making the North Korea-U.S. summit a successful one and about implementing the Panmunjom Declaration,” a South Korean spokesman said in a statement, according to Reuters.
On April 27, the two leaders had met and agreed to several steps to end the animosity between the two nations, which have technically remained at war despite the 1953 armistice that stopped the fighting.
In that April agreement, “South and North Korea confirmed the common goal of realizing, through complete denuclearization, a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula,” officials said Saturday, according to The Washington Post.
Moon is scheduled to announce details of Saturday’s meeting with Kin on Sunday, the South Korean spokesman said.
South Korea released a photo of Moon and Kim hugging one another. This meeting took place on North Korea’s side of the village, while the initial meeting between Moon and Kim took place on the South Korean side.
One expert said the South Korean leader is trying to revive the summit.
“Moon Jae-in is acting decisively to keep his people safe from war,” said Adam Mount of the Federation of American Scientists. “The U.S. summit should have this objective, but Moon will fall back on the Panmunjom process if necessary.”
Saturday’s talks followed a Friday tweet from Trump that the June summit, which he said earlier in the week would be canceled due to North Korea’s hostile attitude, could be back on track.
We are having very productive talks with North Korea about reinstating the Summit which, if it does happen, will likely remain in Singapore on the same date, June 12th., and, if necessary, will be extended beyond that date.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 26, 2018
“We are having very productive talks about reinstating the Summit which, if it does happen, will likely remain in Singapore on the same date, June 12th., and, if necessary, will be extended beyond that date,” Trump tweeted.
News reports also said Trump administration officials have already been sent to prepare the way for the summit, if it takes place.
JUST IN: White House says a pre-advance team will leave for Singapore “as scheduled” to prepare for North Korea summit, should it take place.
— Steven Portnoy (@stevenportnoy) May 26, 2018
On Thursday, Trump pulled out of the meeting after Kim threatened he would call off the summit amid a series of hostile comments aimed at the U.S. In a letter to Kim, Trump said the world, and North Korea, had lost a “great opportunity for lasting peace and great prosperity.”
Trump told reporters Friday that North Korea’s response to his letter offered some hope the summit could still be held.
“We’ll see what happens,” Trump said, according to The New York Times. “We’d like to do it. We’ll see what happens.”
North Korea has objected to military exercises in which South Korea partners with the United States.
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