Kim Jong-un and South Korean leader meet in bid to salvage US talks

The two leaders met for two hours on the North Korean side of Panmunjom, a “truce village” inside the Demilitarized Zone

North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, met unexpectedly with President Moon Jae-in of South Korea on Saturday to discuss salvaging a canceled summit meeting between Mr. Kim and President Trump, Mr. Moon’s office said, a new twist in the whirlwind of diplomacy over the fate of the North’s nuclear arsenal.

The two leaders met for two hours on the North Korean side of Panmunjom, a “truce village” inside the Demilitarized Zone that separates the two Koreas, said Yoon Young-chan, Mr. Moon’s spokesman.

Mr. Moon and Mr. Kim held their first summit meeting on the South Korean side of Panmunjom on April 27. Their second meeting, held in secret and announced only after it took place, came amid doubts about the future of Mr. Kim’s planned summit meeting with President Trump.

Mr. Trump announced Thursday that he was canceling the planned meeting with Mr. Kim, which had been slated for June 12 in Singapore. But he said on Friday that he was reconsidering and that it may still take place as scheduled.

“The two heads of state had a frank exchange of views on the implementation of the April 27 summit agreement and for the successful holding of the North Korea-United States summit,” Mr. Yoon said in a short message sent to reporters.

It was unclear who proposed the second meeting between Mr. Kim and Mr. Moon.

Mr. Moon’s role as a facilitator for the Kim-Trump summit meeting was thrown into doubt when Mr. Trump abruptly announced on Thursday that he was abandoning his plan to meet Mr. Kim, citing “tremendous anger and open hostility” from North Korea.

Mr. Moon’s government has worked for months to help set up the first meeting between the leaders of North Korea and the United States, where he hoped Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump would resolve a decades-old dispute over the North’s nuclear weapons program.

Mr. Trump’s announcement set off a head-spinning series of maneuvers from governments.

North Korea responded to Mr. Trump’s decision with a surprisingly conciliatory gesture, asking Mr. Trump to reconsider and saying that the North was ready to resume dialogue.

On Friday, Mr. Trump said that his administration was back in touch with North Korea and the two sides may reschedule his the meeting with Kim Jong-un, perhaps even on the original June 12 date.

“We’ll see what happens,” Mr. Trump told reporters. “We’d like to do it. We’ll see what happens.”

Source: nytimes