ROK, DPRK hold second summit at Panmunjom;US team heading to Singapore

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ROK President Moon Jae-in met with DPRK leader Kim Jong UnROK President Moon Jae-in met with DPRK leader Kim Jong Un at the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone (DMZ)

The leaders of the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) held a second summit at Panmunjom on Saturday afternoon.

ROK President Moon Jae-in met with DPRK leader Kim Jong Un at the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone (DMZ) from 3 to 5 p.m. local time. 

And now a White House team is heading to Singapore this weekend as previously planned to prepare for a possible summit between President Donald Trump and the DPRK’s leader, a further sign that the meeting Trump called off might get back on track.

CGTN’s Nathan King reports. 
Follow Nathan King on Twitter@nathanking

ROK President Moon Jae-in shakes hands with DPRK leader Kim Jong Un during their summit at the truce village of Panmunjom, DPRK, in this handout picture provided by the presidential Blue House, May 26, 2018. /Reuters Photo

“The two leaders exchanged their opinions candidly to implement the April 27 Panmunjom Declaration and to have a successful DPRK-US summit,” Moon’s chief press secretary Yoon Young-chan said.

ROK President Moon Jae-in shakes hands with DPRK leader Kim Jong Un during their summit at the truce village of Panmunjom, DPRK, in this handout picture provided by the presidential Blue House, May 26, 2018. /Reuters Photo

The unannounced meeting at the Panmunjom border village between Moon and Kim came a month after they held the first inter-Korean summit in more than a decade at the same venue and declared they would work toward a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.

Trump on Friday welcomed the DPRK’s conciliatory response to his letter withdrawing from the June 12 meeting and said it was even possible the meeting with Kim Jong Un could take place on the originally planned date.

“They very much want to do it; we’d like to do it,” he said. Trump later tweeted that the two countries were “having very productive talks.”

On Saturday, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said a team of 30 officials will leave for Singapore as scheduled “to prepare should the summit take place.” The team will be led by Joe Hagin, deputy chief of staff for operations.

These developments, combined with a surprise meeting Saturday between Kim and South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in, rekindled hopes of progress toward halting the DPRK’s nuclear weapons program.

Trump said in a Twitter post late on Friday: “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.”

But Trump did not mention or perhaps did not know, that for the second time in just over month the leaders of the two Koreas were set to meet again – this time on the northern side of the border.

Story by The Associated Press with additional information from CGTN.

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Korean leaders Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong Un met for a surprise second summit on Saturday. Additionally, state media in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is reporting that a further round of “high-level” talks will be held June first. Myung-koo Kang, Professor of Political Science at Baruch College, discusses this and other developments with CGTN’s Susan Roberts.