South, North Korean leaders meet in bid to save Kim-Trump summit

Shaimaa Raafat
3 Min Read

The South and North Korean leaders, Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong Un, held on Saturday a surprise meeting at the Korean Demilitarised Zone, the second between them in about a month, to discuss the possible summit between Kim and US President Donald Trump.   

The meeting came two days after Trump announced the cancellation of the summit, in a letter sent to Kim on Thursday, due to North Korea’s “open hostility.”

However, US President Donald Trump suggested on Friday that his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, meant to take place on 12 June, “will likely remain in Singapore on the same date,” adding, “if necessary, [it] will be extended beyond that date”.

“I was very much looking forward to being there with you. Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting,” the Thursday letter read.

It added, “the Singapore summit, for the good of both parties, but to the detriment of the world, will not take place,” noting that US nuclear capabilities “are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used.”

Trump’s letter came following North Korean threats of pulling out the highly anticipated summit, as Pyongyang deplored two top US officials’ remarks that likened North Korea’s situation to Libya, calling them “ignorant” and “stupid.”

US Vice President Mike Pence warned, in an interview with Fox News, North Korea of making a “mistake” and not to attempt to “play” Trump.

Pence suggested that Pyongyang’s fate could end up like that of Muammar Gaddafi, the former Libyan leader who was ousted and killed in 2011, if North Korea does not commit to denuclearization.

Meanwhile, US National Security Adviser John Bolton also angered North Korea when he said, on 13 May, that the US is keeping the “Libya model” of denuclearisation in mind ahead of its meeting with North Korea.

Both US officials were referring to Gaddafi agreeing to give up his nuclear weapons in 2003 in exchange for the US relaxing sanctions on the North African country.

Earlier on the same day that the White House released Trump’s letter, North Korea claimed that it demolished tunnels at its Punggye-ri nuclear test site through a series of detonations, in the presence of foreign journalists.

The goodwill step came after Pyongyang announced in April that it would halt nuclear and missile tests, as well as shut down a nuclear testing site located in the north of the country ahead of the still-undecided summit.    

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