North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ordered his generals not to carry out any unplanned military activities during the days leading up to his summit with US President Donald Trump, an American broadcaster reported, citing government officials from South Korea and the US on Thursday.
According to a US government official cited by CNN, Kim was careful not to raise tensions with the US with any inadvertent movements before the summit, which took place for two days in Hanoi, Vietnam, at the end of February.
Kim’s goal was to maintain the existing military confidence building measures, especially in the demilitarized zone between the two Koreas, as he sought to persuade Trump to ease sanctions imposed against the regime.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (Yonhap)
Pyongyang declared a voluntary moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests in April 2018 and signed a military pact with Seoul in September that called off all “hostile acts” to prevent military confrontations.
Kim’s order to the military is “one of the clearest signs” that he wanted to sign an agreement at the Hanoi summit that ultimately broke down, CNN said.
After the summit, the North Korean military forces returned to their regular deployment status, the report said.
On Thursday, Pyongyang’s official news agency reported on the North Korean leader’s inspection visit to Samjiyon, Ryanggang Province, near the border with China, raising speculation that the communist leader may make an announcement of his next steps soon.
According to North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency, Kim inspected construction work at a township in the county.
The county, near the sacred Paektusan, is known to be the birthplace of Kim Jong-il, his father. Kim has visited Samjiyon ahead of major announcements or decisions.
In a press conference in Pyongyang last month, North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui said Kim would soon make an announcement on whether he will continue nuclear talks with the US.
By Jo He-rim (email@example.com)