U.S. President Donald J. Trump has called off a planned summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Trump cited the North’s posturing of “tremendous anger and open hostility” towards the United States as a reason for his decision. However, he said it was possible a meeting could still take place but warned North Korea against committing “foolish” acts.
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North Korea had earlier threatened to pull out of a planned summit, after the U.S and South Korea undertook military exercises, which the north took as a “provocation.”
Kim also stalled talks with South Korea. Trump and Kim are due to meet on June 12 in Singapore.
State news agency KCNA quoted Vice-Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan as saying that if the U.S. “corners us and unilaterally demands we give up nuclear weapons we will no longer have an interest in talks and will have to reconsider whether we will accept the upcoming DPRK-US summit.”
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. would be willing to “lift sanctions on North Korea” to pave the way for private American investment in North Korea’s energy, agriculture, and infrastructure sectors “if it dismantles its nuclear weapons program.”
The Pentagon said three American prisoners freed by North Korea had also been reunited with their families.
North Korea is planning to dismantle its nuclear test site later this month as part of a pledge to stop nuclear tests, according to the country’s state media.
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On May 12, the official Korean Central New Agency said dismantlement of the Punggye-ri nuclear test ground would involve collapsing all of its tunnels with explosions, blocking its entrances, and removing all observation facilities, research buildings and security posts.
North Korea’s foreign ministry also invited journalists from China, Russia, United States, United Kingdom and South Korea
to visit the site.
The release said: “The DPRK will, also in the future, promote close contacts and dialogue with the neighboring countries and the international society so as to safeguard peace and stability on the Korean peninsula and over the globe.”
Last month, in the first top-level meeting between the two countries for more than a decade, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in agreed to seek “complete denuclearization” of the Korean peninsula.
The meeting on April 27 at Peace House, a building on the South Korean side of the border village of Panmunjom, was the first time a North Korean leader crossed into the southern side since the end of the Korean War. The BBC carried live updates of the meeting.
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Kim stopped to sign a guest book before the two leaders met privately.
“A new history starts now,” Kim wrote in Korean in the book. “An age of peace, from the starting point of history.”
Earlier, North Korea’s official KCNA news agency said Kim would “open-heartedly discuss with Moon Jae-in all the issues arising in improving inter-Korean relations and achieving peace, prosperity, and reunification of the Korean peninsula.”
At the meeting, the two leaders signed a joint declaration agreeing to work for “the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”
The declaration promises to pursue military de-armament, cease “hostile acts,” turn their fortified border into a “peace zone,” and seek multilateral talks with other countries, such as the United States.
Speaking at a banquet after Friday’s talks, Kim spoke of the progress he said had been made.
“We bade farewell to the frozen relationship between North and South Korea, which was a nightmare. And we announced the beginning of a warm spring to the world.
- An end to “hostile activities” between the two nations
- Changing the demilitarized zone (DMZ) that divides the country into a “peace zone” by ceasing propaganda broadcasts
- An arms reduction in the region pending the easing of military tension
- To push for four-way talks involving the US and China
- Organizing a reunion of families left divided by the war
- Connecting and modernizing railways and roads across the border
- Further joint participation in sporting events, including this year’s Asian Games
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On May 1, South Korea’s Ministry of Defence said that North Korea had started dismantling loudspeakers that blared propaganda across the border. South Korea had earlier switched off its own loudspeakers that broadcast a mixture of news, Korean pop songs and anti-North Korean propaganda.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also released photos of a meeting between now Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meeting Kim over Easter weekend.
In an interview with ABC News on April 29, Pompeo said there was a “real opportunity” for a denuclearization deal when President Donald Trump meets Kim.
“I don’t know which way it will go. As the president has said, only time will tell. But we have … an obligation to engage in diplomatic discourse to try and find a peaceful solution so that Americans aren’t held at risk by Kim Jong Un and his nuclear arsenal.”
The New York Times also reports that South Korean government said Kim told Moon Jae-in that he would abandon his nuclear weapons if the United States agreed to formally end the Korean War and promise not to invade his country.
According to a North Korean spokesman, Kim also vowed to dismantle the nuclear test site at Punggye-ri, in the north of his country (Washington Post).