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article imageSouth Korean president works for third summit with Kim and Trump

By Ken Hanly     Apr 12, 2019 in Politics
President Moon Jae of South Korea says that he intends to set up a new summit between President Trump of the US and Kim Jong-un as soon as possible to return to the peace process and nuclear diplomacy.
South Korea wants to save negotiations with the North
After the recent Hanoi summit between Trump and Kim failed to reach an agreement, South Korea has been trying to save the process even though some US and North Korean officials have expressed pessimism in public statements. Neither side seems to be changing its position. South Korea must determine whether each side will come up with some compromise that would make a new summit feasible. Trump is unlikely to agree to another summit, the third, before upcoming elections if he feels it could fail.
A recent Reuters article notes: "Moon and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed in talks in Washington that a top-down approach led by leaders is essential to facilitate further progress in nuclear talks, Chung Eui-yong, the South Korean national security adviser, told reporters."
US seems not open to gradual denuclearization
The last talks seem to show that the US wants complete denuclearization by North Korea before it will provide any relief from sanctions. A [url=https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/19/world/asia/south-korea-north-hanoi-summit-nuclear.htmlhttps://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/19/world/asia/south-korea-north-hanoi-summit-nuclear.html t=_blank]New York TImes article before the Hanoi meeting sets forth the position of North Korea: "North Korea has so far suspended nuclear and long-range missile tests and destroyed its underground nuclear test site. It has also offered to dismantle a long-range rocket launchpad and engine test facility and invite international experts to watch. But it insists that any further actions it can take — including the permanent destruction of the Yongbyon nuclear complex, a key facility for producing nuclear bomb fuel — will come only if the United States takes corresponding actions."
However, the US shows no interest in giving anything to North Korea that might provide an incentive for talks to renew again. Trump says that the present level of sanctions are at a fair level and the US wants to keep them that way. However as a recent article puts it: "That’s potentially a blow to Moon’s bid to get Kim back to the table, as sanctions relief for denuclearization is a big centerpiece of the deal that was sought in Hanoi. The US has now not only walked away but no longer appears to be willing to offer anything."
Trump has supported a third summit
Trump is willing to hold a third summit with Kim but said it was not a fast process. Trump said: "It could happen. A third summit could happen. And it's step by step. It's not a fast process. I've never said it would be. It's step by step." A South Korean statement after the meeting between Moon and Trump said that Moon would push for another meeting.
Moon wants inter-Korean summit again soon
A South Korean official said that nothing had been decided about the timing and location of a next inter-Korean summit. However, Moon said he would contact the North about holding a summit between the two countries. Trump asked Moon to brief him as early as possible on North Korea's latest thinking. In spite of no progress with the US, the two Korea's may still be able to improve relations through bilateral negotiations.
More about President Moon Jae, North Korea US relations, summit between Trump and Kim Jong un
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