Seoul pushing to rekindle talks with North Korea
SOUTH Korea has said it is pushing to reset high-level talks with North Korea and will communicate closely with Washington and Pyongyang to increase the chances of a successful summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
The announcement by Seoul’s presidential National Security Council (NSC) came a day after North Korea threatened to scrap next month’s historic meeting between Mr Trump and Mr Kim, saying it has no interest in a “one-sided” affair meant to pressure the North to abandon its nukes.
The North also broke off a highlevel meeting with South Korea to protest at the Us-south Korean military exercises the North has long claimed are an invasion rehearsal.
The North’s surprise announcement seemed to cool what had been an unusual flurry of outreach from a country that last year conducted a provocative series of weapons tests that had many fearing the region was on the edge of war.
Analysts said it is unlikely that North Korea intends to scuttle all diplomacy. More likely, they said, is that it wants to gain leverage ahead of the talks between Mr Kim and Mr Trump, scheduled for June 12 in Singapore.
South Korea, which brokered the talks between Mr Kim and Mr Trump, will “closely mediate using multiple communication channels with the United States and with North Korea so that the North Korea-us summit can proceed successfully,” said the NSC after a meeting chaired by Chung Eui-yong, the top security adviser of South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
The NSC also urged the North to faithfully abide by the agreements reached between Mr Moon and Mr Kim in their summit last month, where they issued a vague vow on the “complete denuclearisation” of their peninsula and pledged permanent peace.
Senior officials from the two Koreas were to sit down at a border village on Wednesday to discuss how to implement their leaders’ agreements to reduce military tensions along their heavily fortified border and improve overall ties before the North cancelled the meeting.
In Washington, Mr Trump said the US has not been notified about the North Korean threat to cancel the summit.