Moon, Kim hold surprise meet over US-N. Korea summit

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Seoul, May 26 (IANS) South Korean President Moon Jae-in held a surprise second meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Saturday, the presidential office said, in an apparent move to convince Kim to hold his scheduled summit with US President Donald Trump.

“The President held a second summit with Chairman Kim Jong-un at Tongil-gak on the North Korean side of Panmunjom from 3 p.m. through 5 p.m. on (May) 26,” Moon’s Chief Press Secretary Yoon Young-chan said in a statement.

The summit came about one month after the leaders held their first-ever meeting on April 27 at the joint security area of Panmunjom, which sits directly on the inter-Korean border.

“The two leaders exchanged their candid views on the implementation of the April 27 Panmunjom Declaration and successful opening of the North-US summit,” the statement said.

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The second meeting also came two days after Trump called off his scheduled meeting with Kim in Singapore, citing the North’s “tremendous anger and open hostility” towards Washington.

The first-ever US-North Korea summit was originally set to be held on June 12.

On Friday, Trump said his meeting with Kim could still take place as scheduled after the North’s Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan said his country has the “intent to sit with the US side to solve problems”.

South Korea’s presidential palace refused to confirm any details of the latest inter-Korean summit, saying President Moon himself will explain the outcome in a press conference on Sunday.

Photos and footage of the meeting released by the presidential palace showed that Moon was accompanied by Suh Hoon, the chief of South Korea’s National Intelligence Service spy agency.

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While Kim was accompanied by Kim Yong-chol, a vice chairman of the central committee of the ruling Workers’ Party and head of the United Front Department handling inter-Korean relations.

The two leaders embraced each other before parting after their second summit, possibly indicating a successful outcome for the talks widely expected to have focused on the US-North Korea summit.

Trump earlier said his country too was talking to North Korea about their summit. “We’re talking to them now. They very much want to do it. We’d like to do it. We’re going to see what happens,” he said.

–IANS

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