North Korean and American officials are holding “behind-the-scenes talks” to arrange a third summit between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, South Korea’s president said on Wednesday.
Discussions on a possible meeting on the fate of the North’s nuclear arsenal come four months after a second meeting between the leaders in Vietnam collapsed without any agreement.
No public meetings between Washington and Pyongyang have been held since the breakdown of the Hanoi summit. But the prospects for a resumption of US-North Korea diplomacy have brightened since Trump and Kim recently exchanged personal letters.
Trump called Kim’s letter “beautiful” while Kim described Trump’s as “excellent” – though the content of their letters has not been disclosed.
In written answers to questions submitted by media, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Trump’s and Kim’s “willingness to engage in dialogue has never faded” and their recent letter exchanges prove that.
Moon, a liberal who met Kim three times last year, has made dialogue with the North as a route to forging peace on the Korean Peninsula a centerpiece of his presidency. He has played a central role in facilitating US-North Korean negotiations.
Moon said he doesn’t see the Hanoi summit as a failure and stressed patience was needed to bridge a 70-year “sea of mistrust”.
He said he thinks the meeting served as a chance for both Washington and Pyongyang to better understand each other’s positions and “put everything they want on the negotiating table”.
“The success of denuclearisation and the peace process on the Korean Peninsula cannot be determined by a summit or two,” Moon said, adding discussions in Hanoi will form the basis for future talks.
“Both sides clearly understand the necessity for dialogue,” he added.