North and South Korean Leaders Meet for 2nd Time in Demilitarized Zone

Mr. Trump’s decision to pull out of the summit with Kim came just days after he hosted Moon in a White House meeting where he openly cast doubts on the Singapore meeting but offered no support for continued inter-Korean progress, essentially ignoring the North’s recent attempts to coerce the South.

Saturday’s meeting lacked the fanfare of the first summit, which was broadcast live on TV and included a ceremonial tree planting and a walk in the woods.

Kim has launched a diplomatic offensive since the beginning of the year, meeting not only with Moon but also Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing.

People watch a TV screen showing file footage of U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a news program. Pyongyang took issue with the two-week combined air drills between Seoul and Washington that ended Friday. The person, who asked not to be identified discussing internal matters, said the “maximum pressure” campaign to strangle North Korea’s economy is working, and Kim’s regime will have to come to the table eventually.

Trump’s press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, announced Saturday morning that a White House advance team, led by deputy chief of staff Joe Hagin, still plans to travel to Singapore to make arrangements for the summit between Trump and Kim.

Although the precise agenda was unclear, it was expected that the two leaders would discuss ways of reducing tensions and denuclearising the Korean peninsula.

Saturday’s meeting between the leaders of North and South Korea marks a recent and gradual thaw in relations, which have been nearly caustic since the Korean peninsula was divided in 1945.

It wasn’t immediately clear how the rival Koreas organized what appeared to be an emergency summit.

However, even if they solve the communications issues, they need to overcome a major sticking point: the U.S. insists that Pyongyang must completely denuclearize.

“The two leaders candidly exchanged views about making the North Korea-U.S. summit a successful one and about implementing the Panmunjom Declaration”, South Korea’s presidential spokesman said in a statement, referring to an April 2018 announcement in which both men pledged to work toward achieving peaceful and prosperous inter-Korean relations.

Pictures from the summit show Mr Moon and Mr Kim shaking hands as well as embracing, and reveal that Mr Kim brought along his sister, Kim Yo Jung.

Mr Trump had earlier indicated the summit could be salvaged after welcoming a conciliatory statement from North Korea saying it remained open to talks.

In April, Kim and Moon also met for the first time, during which they publicly announced the beginning of peace talks, and pledged to end the decades-long Korean war, which would reunite thousands of families divided by the conflict.

Blue House also confirmed to media that first vice-department director of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) Kim Yo Jong met the South Korean delegation on the northern part of Panmunjom.

But Trump might have misjudged Kim’s attitude and China’s role, said Cheng Xiaohe, an expert at Renmin University’s School of International Studies in Beijing.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told a Senate committee on Thursday that US negotiators had been getting only “dial tones” when they tried calling their North Korean counterparts in recent days, which coincided with increasingly sharp rhetoric from Pyongyang about USA intentions.

Was Donald Trump flattered into reversing his decision to cancel summit with Kim Jong-un?

The conversation appeared to amount to an effort to reassure a key US ally that Trump did not intend to further escalate tensions with North Korea and that Washington still viewed diplomacy as its primary tool for dealing with Pyongyang.

However, there was a further signal from the US Saturday the June 12 summit may yet go ahead as the White House said it would send a team to Singapore to prepare for the meeting.

US President Donald Trump