President Donald Trump and his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in, are set to meet for a summit next month amid uncertainty over the future of nuclear negotiations with North Korea, CNN informs.
Both leaders are scheduled to hold talks April 11 in Washington to “discuss the latest developments regarding the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) as well as bilateral matters,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.
The meeting will take place a little more than a month after Trump held his second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi. The talks fell apart over disagreements on exchanging sanctions relief for steps toward the dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. Though the summit ended abruptly, the White House has maintained the leaders left on good terms.
“There’s obviously a long ways to go. There’s more work to do. Chairman Kim hasn’t yet demonstrated that he is prepared to fulfill the commitment that he made. But I continue to believe that hard work and diplomatic effort may well get us there,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday.
Senior officials from Pyongyang, however, have been less optimistic. Choe Son Hui, one of North Korea’s top diplomats, told reporters on a recent trip to Russia that her country was considering suspending talks, CNN adds.
A South Korean government official said Trump proposed the meeting with Moon in a call to him made from Air Force One after leaving Hanoi. Trump “proposed to discuss the issues related to North Korea over lunch. President Moon gladly accepted his invitation,” the official told reporters during a background briefing Friday.
Moon has essentially positioned himself as the middle man between Washington and Pyongyang since the two countries began exploring diplomatic negotiations last year.
Duyeon Kim, an expert on Korean affairs at the Center for a New American Security, said it was “only natural” that Moon would make a move “to bring Trump and Kim together again to prevent a protracted pause in negotiations.”