North and South Korea have resumed peace talks as Donald Trump awaits a “personal letter” from Kim Jong Un amid a US-led push to persuade Pyongyang to end its nuclear programme.
The meeting at the demilitarised border village of Panmunjom – which was initially called off in response to a joint US-South Korea air force drill – follows talks in New York between US secretary of state Mike Pompeo and North Korean vice chairman Kim Yong Chol.
American diplomats are also meeting with North Koreans in the demilitarised zone as well as in Singapore in a bid to secure the 12 June summit between Mr Trump and Mr Kim.
South Korea plans to use Friday’s talks to address tensions across their heavily armed border as well as reuniting families separated during the Korean War, which took place between 1950 and 1953.
Seoul’s unification minister Cho Myoung-gyon told reporters before the meeting: “We will hold discussions with the North so that we can implement the agreements between the two leaders with pace and without hitches and also create a positive atmosphere for the leaders’ summit between North Korea and the United States.”
Mr Pompeo has since told a news conference he was confident talks with North Korean officials were moving in the right direction and that it would be “tragic to let this opportunity go to waste”.
He said Kim Yong Chol, one of the North Korean leader’s closest aides and the highest-ranking North Korean official to visit the US in 18 years, was travelling to Washington to deliver a “personal letter” from Kim Jong Un to President Trump.
Mr Trump responded by saying: “I look forward to seeing what’s in the letter.”
Following the meeting with Kim Yong Chol, Mr Pompeo said: “Our two countries face a pivotal moment in our relationship in which it could be nothing short of tragic to let this opportunity go to waste.”
The US secretary of state warned North Korea had to choose a path “fundamentally different” to the one they had been on for decades.
Mr Pompeo said the secretive state was “contemplating a strategic shift” – and that talks to prepare a meeting about denuclearisation were going well.
Mr Trump said this morning: “Will see what happens… hopefully we will have a meeting on the 12th”.
The recent developments follow a historic meeting between Mr Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in in April, when the pair agreed to a “complete denuclearisation” of their peninsula.
However, relations worsened when Pyongyang cancelled an inter-Korean meeting and threatened to walk away from its scheduled summit with President Trump following the South’s joint military exercises with the US.
The American leader later cancelled the 12 June summit before backtracking shortly before the North and South Korean leaders met again for a second time and agreed to resume talks between the two countries.
Previously, Washington has demanded that the North agree to a “complete, verifiable and irreversible” end to Pyongyang’s nuclear program while Kim Jong Un continues to seek international recognition and security guarantees.
From – SkyNews