President Moon Jae-in and his United States counterpart Donald Trump.
"The first meeting would not solve all, but solving even one at a time in a phased way would make the relations get better rather than making them get worse", North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan said in a statement carried by Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency, which mainly targets external audience. They very much want to do it.
In a tweet posted on Friday night, Trump said the USA was having "very productive talks" with the regime. The sweetening tone was just the latest change in a roller-coaster game of brinkmanship. On Thursday, White House officials had noted that Trump had left the door open with a letter to Kim that blamed "tremendous anger and open hostility" by Pyongyang but also urged Kim to call him.
In previous, failed talks, North Korea said it could consider giving up its arsenal if Washington removed its troops from South Korea and withdrew its so-called nuclear umbrella of deterrence from South Korea and Japan.
Confident in his negotiating skills, Trump views the meeting as a legacy-defining opportunity and has relished the press attention and the speculation about a possible Nobel Peace Prize.
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"We are having very productive talks about reinstating the Summit which, if it does happen, will likely remain in Singapore on the same date, June 12th., and, if necessary, will be extended beyond that date", Trump said in a Twitter post. He characterized the recent back-and-forth as the "usual give and take". We're looking at June 12 in Singapore.
USA regional allies Japan and South Korea, as well as North Korea's main ally, China, urged the two countries to salvage the summit on Friday. They allowed Moon to push for a U.S.
Another U.S. delegation was in Singapore to work on logistics.
Trump repeatedly offered mixed messages about the exit. "We even inwardly hoped that what is called "Trump formula" would help clear both sides of their worries and comply with the requirements of our side and would be a wise way of substantial effect for settling the issue", he said.
South Korea's presidential Blue House announced earlier Saturday that President Moon Jae-in had held a secret meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in an effort to keep diplomacy between Washington and Pyongyang alive.
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After that, a senior White House official said the North had reneged on its promises ahead of the summit.
Trump's latest about-face sent officials scrambling in Washington.
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.
On Sunday, current USA ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim led a team to the northern side of the "Unification House" along the DMZ for talks on North Korea's nuclear program.
On May 16, North Korea criticized USA national security adviser John Bolton, who had called for North Korea to quickly give up its nuclear arsenal in a deal that would mirror Libya's abandonment of its programme for weapons of mass destruction.
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