US Delegation Begins New Talks with North Korea. US negotiators have travelled to the demilitarised zone between North and South Korea. An experienced diplomat and Korea expert will lead the negotiations.
A US negotiating team led by former nuclear negotiator Sung Kim travelled to the Korean Demarcation Line on Sunday. Their talks are to take place with a delegation from North Korea, reports the Washington Post. Sung Kim, US ambassador to South Korea from 2011 to 2014, was called in by his current post in the Philippines. The US delegation also includes a representative of the National Security Council and the Pentagon.
According to the Washington Post report, Sung Kim is to lead preparations for a meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. According to the newspaper, the American met with North Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui in the so-called “Union House” in the demilitarised zone between the two Koreas. The two know each other well, as they have already negotiated in 2005 on denuclearisation of North Korea officially. It is expected that the talks will last until Tuesday.
The chances of Kim and Trump’s summit meeting scheduled for June 12 in Singapore had recently risen again. Trump had cancelled the call on Thursday, but on Friday said he still thinks it’s possible – even on June 12th. On Saturday, the US President said preparations for the meeting were progressing. “I think there is a lot of goodwill, so let’s have a look at June 12 in Singapore, it has not changed, we’ll see what happens.” Trump reported that journalists were talking about “work-level” conversations in a “specific location” he did not want to mention, according to the Washington Post.
“Like a routine meeting between friends.”
A few hours earlier, Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae In had met for the second time in four weeks, expressing strong support for the Singapore meeting. Photos showed both after completion in a warm embrace. It was “like a routine meeting between friends,” Moon said. According to Moon, North Korea also reaffirmed its desire to make the Korean Peninsula nuclear-free. However, North Korea was not convinced that they could trust the security guarantees of the United States.
The appointment of the experienced diplomat Sung to the head of the US delegation may indicate that the White House wants to invest more care and expertise in the complex issue. Many American experts in Korea doubt the negotiating skills of the Trump administration and consider a postponement of the meeting to be meaningful because the previous preparations were insufficient. So far, there seems to be no elaborate compromise line behind Trump’s maximum demand that North Korea must entirely and unilaterally dismantle atomically.