North Korea’s Kim Jong-un ‘set on Trump summit’

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International desk, May 27: It is North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s “fixed will” that a summit with US President Donald Trump in Singapore should go ahead, state media say.This followed a surprise meeting on Saturday between Mr Kim and the South’s Moon Jae-in, who said the North was “committed to denuclearisation”.

Mr Trump had cancelled the 12 June summit, citing the North’s “hostility”.

But on Saturday he said that the date “hasn’t changed” and that things were “moving along very nicely”.

After Mr Kim and Mr Moon had met on Saturday in the demilitarised zone between the two nations, the North’s state media added that “top leaders” from the two nations would hold more talks on Friday.

The North’s KCNA agency released a detailed statement on the meeting and the South Korean president also delivered remarks. It was the leaders’ second meeting in as many months.

Mr Moon said he and Mr Kim had “agreed that the 12 June summit should be held successfully” and that the North Korean leader had “again made clear his commitment to a complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula”.

But Mr Moon suggested Mr Kim was not certain whether Washington could guarantee the stability of his regime.

“What Kim is unclear about is that he has concerns about whether his country can surely trust the United States over its promise to end hostile relations,” Mr Moon said.

The KCNA statement said the two leaders had had a “candid dialogue” and that Mr Kim had “expressed his fixed will on the historic… summit talks”. He had called for co-operation to “establish a mechanism for permanent and durable peace” and the opening of a “new era of reconciliation and unity”.

As Mr Moon alluded to, there is still a lot of ground to be covered and Mr Trump has clearly shown that if does not think a deal can be done, he will not go.

Mr Moon said after Saturday’s meeting that although the US and North Korea “share the same resolve, there need to be discussions regarding the roadmap for how to make it happen, and that process could be tough”

Mr Moon himself has declined to define what “complete denuclearisation” means and it is unclear whether Mr Kim will agree to fully abandon his nuclear arsenal. Similar pledges in the past have not been upheld.

Analysts say the US had wanted denuclearisation first – followed by rewards in the form of lifted sanctions and economic aid.

Mr Kim has indicated he wants a phased approach, with his steps met by reciprocal ones from the US and the South – mainly on sanctions but also easing of the US military presence in South Korea.

Mr Trump has not ruled out such an incremental approach.

North Korea has been subjected to numerous rounds of international sanctions since 2006, which has cut off most of its exports and capped its imports of oil.

Source: Agencies