North, South Korean leaders hold surprise 2nd summit

Donald Trump told reporters on his way to board the presidential helicopter that US officials are in talks with North Korea after the country’s ‘very nice statement’ on Friday

South Korea's presidential Blue House announced Saturday that earlier in the day, President Moon Jae-in held a secret summit meeting with North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, in an effort to keep diplomacy between Washington and Pyongyang alive.

Relations between the U.S. and North Korean became progressively optimistic over the past few months, after Kim Jong-un invited Mr Trump for a meeting in March.

The latest talks were held on the northern side of the Panmunjom truce village, between 3pm and 5pm local time, Mr Moon's office said.

Moon is to announce details of the meeting at a press conference on Sunday, according to the South Korean president's office.

A protestor wearing a face-mask depicting President Donald Trump kneels between cardboard cutouts of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean leader Moon Jae-in during a rally calling for more dialogue between the three leaders, outside the US embassy in Seoul on May 25, 2018.

North and South Korea's leaders held surprise talks on Saturday to get a historic summit between Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump back on track after a head-spinning series of twists and turns.

Just a day after the cancellation, however, Trump said the U.S. and North Korea were "having very productive talks" and there was still a chance the meeting would be held in Singapore on the same date.

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He cancelled the summit on Thursday, blaming the North's "open hostility".

He did not detail the nature of the new USA communication with the North. "We will see what happens", Trump told reporters in response to another question.

Koh said Moon would try to persuade Kim to accept an alternative approach advocated by Seoul, in which the North's comprehensive commitment and credible actions toward denuclearization are followed by a phased but compressed process of declaration, inspection, and verifiable dismantling.

Trump's back-and-forth over his summit plans with Kim has exposed the fragility of Seoul as an intermediary. The North expressed frustration last week over what it called Washington's insistence on "unilateral nuclear abandonment", and the Trump administration still appears intent on pressing the issue with Pyongyang.

Donald Trump told reporters on his way to board the presidential helicopter that U.S. officials are in talks with North Korea after the country's "very nice statement" on Friday.

North Korea's First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan called Trump's decision "unexpected" and "regrettable" but sounded a conciliatory tone, saying officials were willing "to sit face-to-face at any time".

In his letter, Trump warned Kim of the United States' greater nuclear might, reminiscent of the president's tweet past year asserting that he had a "much bigger" nuclear button than Kim. "They very much want to do it". In many respects, that could be the simplest of explanations as to why Kim Jong-un has offered, and President Trump has accepted, to meet to negotiate what could be the greatest diplomatic opening since Nixon went to China in 1972.

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"We are talking to them now", Trump said on Friday, adding that the summit with Kim may proceed and "it could even be the 12th".

The statement said North Korea is "open-minded in giving time and opportunity to the U.S".

Kim Byeong-uk fled the North 16 years ago and now runs the North Korea Development Institute, an economic think tank in Seoul.

The leaders of North and South Korea have met in the demilitarised border area between the two countries. "We will see what happens", he said.

Washington has made it clear it wants to see the "complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation" of the North.

In calling off the June 12 summit with Kim, Trump had accused the government in Pyongyang of "open hostility".

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