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Trump Suggests North Korea Summit Could Still Happen

Trump Suggests North Korea Summit Could Still Happen

Moon and Kim met at Tongilgak, a negotiation site on the North Korean side of Panmunjom, the diplomatic outpost on the border separating the two countries, which are still technically at war.

Moon is scheduled to announce more details of the meeting Sunday.

This picture taken on May 26, 2018 and released by the Blue House via Dong-A Ilbo shows South Korea's President Moon Jae-in (second L) and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (R) during their second summit at the north side of the truce village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).

This rings especially true now that U.S. President Donald Trump has announced he's cancelled his Singapore summit with Kim, which was aimed at reaching an agreement on North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

Trump scrapped the meeting in a letter to Kim on Thursday after repeated threats by North Korea to pull out over what it saw as confrontational remarks by USA officials demanding unilateral disarmament. The meeting could reduce Seoul's credibility as a USA -allied middleman in the talks if the details weren't shared or if Moon strayed from Washington's position, he said.

The North has said it will refuse to participate in talks where it would be unilaterally pressured to give up its nukes. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters on Friday that diplomats were "still at work" and that the summit could be back on "if our diplomats can pull it off".

He also added, "We're talking to them now".

North Korea hardened its rhetoric toward the U.S. on Thursday, lashing out after remarks by Vice President Mike Pence and the White House national security adviser, John Bolton, that had linked the country with Libya.

Moon Jae-in has pushed diplomacy as he sought to calm spiralling tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Before Trump scrapped the meeting on Thursday, North Korea said it had completely dismantled its Punggye-ri nuclear test facility "to ensure the transparency of discontinuance" of nuclear testing.

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She referred to Vice President Mike Pence as a "political dummy" for his earlier comments on North Korea and said it was up to the Americans whether they would 'meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown'.

North Korea's Vice-Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan said Trump's cancellation decision was "extremely regrettable".

Later Friday, Trump tweeted that the two countries were "having very productive talks".

But North Korea responded Friday by saying it was willing to talk to the United States "at any time" - a reaction Trump welcomed as "warm and productive".

Trump appeared to be optimistic even about the cancelled June 12 summit in Singapore. South Korea's Blue House posted photos on Twitter on Saturday, showing Moon and Kim embracing one another and speaking across a table.

Trump has said the summit could still be held in Singapore on 12 June if conditions are right.

Trump's aides had warned that merely agreeing to the summit had provided Kim with long-sought global legitimacy and, if Trump ultimately backed out, he risked fostering the perception that the president was insufficiently committed to diplomatic solutions to the nuclear question.

"Instead, journalists were invited and we will not have forensic evidence that much was accomplished", the official said.

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.

At an worldwide economic forum in St Petersburg on Friday, Chinese Vice-President Wang Qishan said it was vitally important for the U.S. and North Korean leaders to meet to maintain regional stability, and the cancellation was just a "brief interlude".