The Korea Herald


Seoul keeps close eye on Trump-Kim plans

By Choi He-suk

Published : April 30, 2018 - 16:23

    • Link copied

President Moon Jae-in’s meeting with US President Donald Trump may be brought forward due to apparent changes in the plans for US-North Korea summit, a South Korean official said Monday.

Although Cheong Wa Dae has not released the official date of the Moon-Trump meeting, it had been speculated that it would take place mid-May.

“If South Korea-US summit is held in mid-May, it may be too close together (with US-North Korea summit),” a high-level Cheong Wa Dae official said. He added that with the location of the Trump-Kim meeting being narrowed down, he expects the schedule to be determined in the near future. 

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump. Yonhap North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump. Yonhap

“The South Korea-US summit date will be set in relation to the US-North Korea talks’ schedule.”

The Cheong Wa Dae official’s comments follows Trump’s earlier remarks that he is likely to meet Kim “over the next three or four weeks.“ Previously, the US leader had set the timeframe sometime between May and early June.

As for the location of Trump’s meeting with Kim, Cheong Wa Dae said that Moon and Trump discussed “two or three” possible locations for the US-North Korea summit during their telephone conversation on Saturday.

A number of locations have been linked to the planned meeting with Singapore and Ulaanbaatar said to be among the more likely candidates. Other locations raised as possible candidates include northern European cities, US locations, Pyongyang and Panmunjeom. According to Japanese media reports, US had suggested a location on the west coast of continental US and Guam, but both were rejected by North Korea.

After Friday’s inter-Korean summit, hailed by some as a major step forward in denuclearizing North Korea, media attention has been focused on the Trump-Kim meeting, and the denuclearization method preferred by Washington.

A number of plans have been linked to North Korea, with the “Libya model” gaining traction following US National Security Advisor John Bolton’s latest remarks.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, meanwhile, denied that Kim would be affected by developments surrounding the Iran nuclear deal.

“He’s going to look for aligning our interests, right, setting up -- what we talked about is concrete, irreversible actions, assurances, that provided him with assurance that if we are able to be successful in changing this it will be lasting,” Pompeo was quoted as saying on Sunday by the US Department of State. Pompeo was traveling to Tel Aviv from Brussels.

“So I don’t think Kim Jong-un is staring at the Iran deal and saying, “Oh goodness, if they get out of that deal, I won’t talk to the Americans anymore.” There are higher priorities that he is more concerned about than whether or not the Americans stay in the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action).”

Signed by China, France, Russia, UK, US, Germany and the European Union in 2015, the JCPOA seeks to limit Iran’s nuclear capabilities, and open concerned facilities to International Atomic Energy Agency inspections. In return, the international community has eased sanctions imposed on the country.

Trump, however, has attacked the deal as being one that “should have never been made,” and threatened to pull out unless its “terrible flaws” are modified.

The US leader has been echoed by Pompeo on his Middle Eastern trip. Speaking in Riyadh on Sunday, Pompeo said that the deal does not satisfy the US goal of preventing Iran from possessing nuclear weapons, and that Washington is working with European nations to “fix that deal.”

By Choi He-suk (