North Korean leader allows glimpse inside 'Hermit Kingdom' during historic talks

Hugh Fox
June 1, 2018

In their talks, Lavrov relayed President Vladimir Putin's "warmest regards and best wishes" for Kim's "big endeavours" on the Korean Peninsula. "The U.S. delegation, led by Ambassador Sung Kim, met with North Korean officials earlier today as well".

Pyongyang is seeking global recognition and security guarantees and it is far from clear whether its own vision of the "denuclearisation" of the Korean peninsula can be brought in line with Washington's.

Addressing the hostile exchanges the previous week, the official added, "That's why we're having talks face-to-face and not corresponding either through the newspapers or letter", adding, "the ideal thing is what's happening right here, what's happening in the DMZ and what's happening in Singapore".

Moon, who has lobbied hard for nuclear negotiations between Trump and Kim Jong Un, held a surprise meeting with the North Korean leader on Saturday (Sunday NZT) in an effort to keep the summit alive.

The meeting was the first ever between the North Korean leader and a Russian official - and Lavrov used the opportunity to invite Kim for a return fixture in Moscow. "The meetings have been very positive". Trump, after this letter, expressed willingness to put the June 12 summit back on track.

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The meeting at the demilitarised border village of Panmunjom - which was initially called off in response to a joint US-South Korea air force drill - follows talks in NY between US secretary of state Mike Pompeo and North Korean vice chairman Kim Yong Chol.

North Korea conducted a series of missile tests and nuclear detonations a year ago, which led to the imposition of additional United Nations Security Council resolutions meant to isolate the country economically. It's the highest-level meeting between a United States president and a North Korean official since 2000.

After meeting with Kim Yong Chol on Thursday morning in New York, Pompeo said the two sides made "real progress" but declined to discuss specifics.

The United States and South Korea blacklisted the official for supporting North Korea's nuclear and missile programs in 2010 and 2016, respectively.

North Korea, Terry said, has always meant the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, which would include a security guarantee for the region and the end of hostile policies by the USA, including its alliance with South Korea and the deployment of United States troops on the peninsula.

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Lavrov invited Kim to Russian Federation, and called for a phased approach to denuclearisation, including easing of worldwide sanctions on North Korea.

Trump, the official said, "can make a fly or no-fly decision anytime he wants", referring to the possible Singapore summit.

The letter appeared to be in response to a comment from Trump last Thursday when he canceled the summit, accusing Pyongyang of hostility, but urged the North Korean leader to "call me or write" if he had a change of heart.

Ahead of the meeting, Mr Pompeo had set out the United States position.

"The difference of the position between the North and the USA in the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is still huge", South Korea's unification minister, Cho Myoung-gyon, said on Wednesday, as NK News noted.

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The US secretary of state, who spoke with Trump on Wednesday night (Thursday NZT) and with National Security Adviser John Bolton early Thursday (Friday NZT), was accompanied by Andrew Kim, the head of a Central Intelligence Agency unit assigned to work on North Korea, and Mark Lambert, the head of the State Department's Korea desk. Trump hosted South Korean President Moon Jae-in last week.

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