Donald Trump says he’ll talk with Kim Jong-un

World Today

Preliminary inter-Korean talks are yielding a measure of progress, with Pyongyang signaling its intent to take part in a specific Winter Games event. Ahead of face-to-face talks in the de-militarized-zone on Tuesday, there is a clear push to ease tensions and make some progress.

CGTN’s Toby Muse reports on the latest developments.

U.S. President Donald Trump said he is ready to talk with the DPRK leader after the news that the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea will meet next week. Asked by a reporter whether he would engage in a phone conversation with Kim Jong-un, Trump responded, “Sure, I always believe in talking.”

President Donald Trump claimed the talks are a result of his tough policy on the DPRK. He also expressed hopes that the talks could lead to a possible breakthrough in a recent standoff over Pyongyang’s nuclear program.

“He knows I’m not messing around,” said Trump of DPRK leader Kim Jung-un. “I’m not messing around. Not even a little bit, not even one-percent. He understands that. At the same time, if we can come up with a very peaceful and good solution. If something can happen and something can come out of these talks; that would be a great thing for all of humanity.”

The rare talks between Pyongyang and Seoul, the first in more than two years, will focus on the Winter Olympics, due to be held in the ROK next month. The talks this week will take place in the truce village of Panmunjom. Inside the demilitarized zone separating the two countries.

China has also welcomed the news of the meeting.

“We hope that all relevant parties on the Korean peninsula issue will seize upon the opportunity of the Winter Olympics to meet each other halfway, return to the correct path of peacefully solving problems through dialogue and consultation,” said Geng Shuang, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

The talks come in the middle of a nuclear showdown between the DPRK and the US. Tensions have escalated over recent months over DPRK’s testing of ballistic missiles. Yet, the meeting and news that Seoul and the US will suspend their planned military exercises during the winter games has provided the first glimpse of a possible easing of tensions.

The DPRK’s representative to the International Olympic Committee told Japanese media his country was likely to compete in February’s games.  Two figure skaters are the only athletes from the DPRK who are known to have qualified. The same representative, however, didn’t rule out the possibility of others participating in the Games.

Stephan Haggard of UCSD on the latest DPRK developments

CGTN’s Wang Guan interviewed University of California San Diego professor Stephan Haggard on the recent developments in the Korean Peninsula. Haggard is a professor of Korea-Pacific Studies.