Home Korean Peninsula Kim and Moon’s surprise meet up breathes air into dying Singapore Summit

Kim and Moon’s surprise meet up breathes air into dying Singapore Summit

The meeting is only the second between South Korea's Moon Jae-in and the North's Kim Jong-un.

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News Analysis |

Without any prior announcement or planning, leaders of both Koreas Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae-in, met in the demilitarized zone to discuss the bleak possibility of Kim-Trump meeting, after it was cancelled by US president.

Just a couple of days ago, President Donald Trump shared the photo of official communique imitated from White House on behalf of POTUS, directed toward Korean supreme leader Kim Jong Un, informing him about the cancellation of Singapore Summit, scheduled next month. He said the decision was “best for both parties” but at the end gave a hint that talks might still go as planned, making the whole scenario ambiguous.

Initially Kim Jong Un, in his discourse, was very accommodating as far as the military cooperation between the United States and South Korea is concerned.

The meeting is only the second between South Korea’s Moon Jae-in and the North’s Kim Jong-un. The latest talks were held on the northern side of the Panmunjom truce village, between 15:00 and 17:00 local time (06:00 and 08:00 GMT), Mr Moon’s office said.

“Both leaders exchanged opinions… for the successful holding of the North Korea-US summit,” it added, saying that Mr Moon would announce the outcome of the talks on Sunday morning. Both sides seemed optimistic about the prospects and implication of this meeting to result in the convening both world leader, Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump, next month in Singapore.

Read more: Kim Jong Un in 10 dates

White house spokesperson Sarah Sanders, while responding to the question about the possibility of the summit, said that an advance team of White House and Department of State officials would leave for Singapore this weekend, as originally scheduled, to prepare for a possible summit there. The situation is getting complicated and vague day by day.

On one hand, United States followed official diplomatic protocol to let Pyongyang know that it had reservation over the demeanour with which North Korean protested against the US-South Korean military drill, leading to termination of the planned meeting. And now, corresponding arrangements and protocol for the summit are sought to be kept in line, even when the prospects of this meeting are clouded with the highest degree of uncertainty.

The key determinant keeping the hopes alive is South Korean President Moon Jae-li and his aides who have been diplomatically very active, keeping channels of communication open for both the sides. It is believed that the sudden, unplanned meeting which took place in the demilitarized zone between himself and Kim Jong Un, is also the result of Mr. Moon’s aspirations with respect to Singapore Summit.

President Donald Trump shared the photo of official communique imitated from White House on behalf of POTUS, directed toward Korean supreme leader Kim Jong Un, informing him about the cancellation of Singapore Summit, scheduled next month.

The juncture in the history has come after very long time for Koreans where there is a higher plausibility of reaching an outcome in the best interest of Korean people. President Moon, ostensibly, wants to cling to the opportunity at hand and make the most of it without letting it go down the drain simply because of the ego of two leaders.

North Korea has been equally up to the task in the prevailing vagueness. Initially Kim Jong Un, in his discourse, was very accommodating as far as the military cooperation between the United States and South Korea is concerned. But as soon as both the countries started their joint Airforce drills, North Korea protested and termed it as a hostile move. But this meeting shows a desperation on part of North Korea as well to reach an agreement which will relinquish it from economic reins.

Read more: Why did Kim Jong Un pay a surprise visit to Beijing?

The United States expects a complete and irreversible denuclearization from North Korea. If the meeting does happen, President Trump would be focusing to bring Kim Jong Un to an acceptable position which he could sell as the success story of his first tenure of US presidency. There is also scepticism whether Kim will ever agree to relinquish his nuclear weapons, which analysts believe he sees as his only guarantee of survival. Comments in state media indicate Kim sees any meeting with Trump as a negotiation between nuclear states. The North has said it will not participate if it is pressured to give up its arsenal.


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