The top national security advisers of the US, South Korea and Japan have met at the weekend to discuss ways to achieve a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula ahead of a possible summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump.
South Korea’s presidential Blue House said on Monday that the security advisers from the three countries held talks on the “complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula,” agreeing that “it was important to not repeat the mistakes of the past” and to work together closely.”
During the two-day meeting, they also discussed possible meetings between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and the North’s leader.
Earlier, Seoul said Kim has agreed to hold summit talks with Moon in late April. It said the North’s leader proposed a meeting with the US president. Trump almost immediately agreed to meet Kim by the end of May, without any preconditions.
The White House, however, later set conditions for such a summit.
“The president will not have the meeting without seeing concrete steps and concrete actions take place by North Korea, so the resident will actually be getting something,” said White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders. “We look forward to the denuclearization of North Korea. In the meantime, all sanctions and maximum pressure must remain.”
On Monday, South Korea’s foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said the North’s leader “has given his word” that he is committed to denuclearization.
Kang said that this is “the first time that the words came directly” from the leader.
Seoul has asked the North “to indicate in clear terms the commitment to denuclearization” and Kim has “conveyed that commitment,” she added.
This is while the North has given no public response to Trump in the nearly two weeks since Kim was said to have accepted the invitation.
“We believe the North Korean leader is now taking stock,” the South’s foreign minister said. “We give them the benefit of the doubt, and the time that he would need to come out with some public messaging.”
In the meantime, North Korean officials have also been busy with diplomatic missions ahead of the summits with Seoul and Washington.
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-Ho, accompanied by several North Korean officials, concluded on Sunday three day of talks with Swedish officials, including his counterpart Margot Wallstrom in Stockholm.
They discussed the “opportunities and challenges for continued diplomatic efforts to reach a peaceful solution” to the Korea’s nuclear and missile program that has been a source of tensions in the region, the North’s officials said.
Sweden is said to be one of a handful of places that would host a US-North Korea summit.
Pyongyang’s delegation later arrived in the Chinese capital on Monday from Sweden to discuss the inter-Korean summit and the meeting between Kim and Trump.
Senior North Korean diplomat Choe Kang-il also flew to Finland on Sunday for talks with US and South Korean civilian academics as well as former US officials. He was seen at a Beijing airport on Sunday before boarding a flight to Finland, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported.
News of a summit between Trump and Kim has made headlines around the world for two weeks and promoted the world powers to take steps to make such a historic meeting possible.
The US and North Korea have been arch-foes for decades. Trump has repeatedly threatened the North with military action over its missile and nuclear programs. He has also in the past attacked Kim with personal insults.
Pyongyang, however, defends its military program as a deterrent against foreign aggression.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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