Cloaked in uncertainty, Trump-Kim summit takes step forward

World Today

People watch a TV screen showing file footage of U.S. President Donald Trump, right, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, May 26, 2018. South Korea on Saturday expressed cautious relief about the revived talks for a summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un following a whirlwind 24 hours that saw Trump canceling the highly-anticipated meeting before saying it’s potentially back on. The letters read “if the summit does happen, will likely take place on June 12 in Singapore.” (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

A frenzy of diplomatic activity taking place for a once-canceled event now cloaked in uncertainty.

Last week, the White House called-off the summit with Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s Leader Kim Jong Un. Unofficially, it appears to be back on track.

Now, teams representing Washington and Pyongyang are busy preparing for a possible June 12th summit in Singapore.

CGTN’s White House Correspondent Nathan King explains the work going into the planning for the ‘expected meeting.’

Progress in U.S. diplomacy with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea used to take years. Now it’s measured in days.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo deployed veteran American diplomat Sung Kim, a former U.S. ambassador to South Korea – and former nuclear negotiator with the North – to the DPRK. At the same time a White House logistical group – led by Joe Hagin, White House deputy chief of staff for operations – has made its way to Singapore. That’s the same location Trump announced would host the planned June 12 meeting with Kim Jong Un. The visits suggest the sort of advanced planning for a possible summit may now be underway.

Adding to the speculation that the summit will take place, Monday the White House said Trump had spoken with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe about the North Korea efforts, adding that the two planned to meet before the “expected meeting” with Kim to coordinate strategy. No date for the planned meeting between Trump and Abe has been announced. Both are expected to attend the Group of Seven economic summit June 8-9 in Canada.

Trump withdrew from the planned June 12 summit in Singapore last Thursday – citing Pyongyang’s hostile behaviour. But the next day Trump said the summit might be back on. And on Saturday he tweeted that the summit, if it does happen, will likely take place on June 12 in Singapore as originally planned.

The State Department and South Korea’s Foreign Ministry have confirmed American and DPRK officials have been engaged in talks at the Korean village of Panmunjom. It’s the same location that hosted an unexpected meeting of the two Korean leaders on May 26 and discussed the U.S. offer of economic assistance in return for denuclearization. South Korean President Moon Jae-in told reporters Kim was willing to cooperate to end confrontation and work toward peace for the sake of the successful summit with Trump. Seoul announced Monday, Moon could be joining Trump and Kim in Singapore for the possible summit.

This photograph taken on May 26, 2018 and released by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 27 shows North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un (R) and South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in (2nd L) attending their second summit at the north side of the truce village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ).
Kim Jong Un believes a summit with US President Donald Trump will be a landmark opportunity to end decades of confrontation, South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in said May 27 following his surprise meeting with the North Korean leader. / AFP PHOTO / KCNA VIA KNS

Leaders from the DPRK and the U.S. appear to want this summit, but officials on both sides still have many details to work out, including when denuclearization will occur—before the summit as The White House has demanded…or gradually, as Pyongyang has proposed. The DPRK says it’s not ready to swap missiles for money. An article in the official workers party newspaper in Pyongyang reads: “US media is still building up public opinion that the DPRK comes to the negotiating table with the US in a hope to get ‘economic aid.’”

The DRPK paper called the U.S. proposal “impudent” and “rubbish,” adding: “As far as the ‘economic aid’ … is concerned, the DPRK has never expected it.”

Top officials representing Seoul and Pyongyang are expected to meet again June 1. Moon said military generals and Red Cross officials from the Koreas will also meet separately to discuss how to ease military tensions and resume reunions of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.

Sung-Yoon Lee gives his thoughts on the latest developments on the US-DPRK summit

CGTN’s Elaine Reyes spoke to Sung-Yoon Lee on Korean Peninsula Diplomacy. Lee is a Kim Koo-Korea Foundation Professor in Korean Studies and an Assistant Professor at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

Paolo von Schirach discusses the latest in Trump-Kim Summit

CGTN’s Mike Walter spoke with Paolo von Schirach, President of the Global Policy Institute, about the latest development in the potential Summit between the U.S. and the DPRK.