Downing Street welcomes news of Trump-North Korea talks
Downing Street welcomes news of Trump-North Korea talks
KIM JONG-UN North Korea's leader has gone on a major charm offensive in 2018
10 March, 2018, 23:31
A day after the bombshell announcement that the USA and North Korean leaders would meet before the end of May, Vice President Mike Pence said the White House would keep "maximum pressure" on Pyongyang and claimed U.S. efforts to isolate Kim had been vindicated. Skeptics don't think Kim will ever feel safe without a nuclear deterrent, and the best Trump can hope for is a freeze on North Korea's missile program that will remove the direct threat to the USA mainland.
"A meeting is being planned", Trump said on Twitter after speaking to Chung, setting up what would be his biggest foreign policy gamble since taking office in January 2017.
Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump will meet before May, but is it a giant bluff?
Envoys of South Korean President Moon Jae-in visited Pyongyang earlier this week and were hosted at a welcome dinner by Kim at the headquarters of the ruling Worker's Party. The dollar also rose against the safe-haven Japanese yen.
"It's good news, no doubt", said Hong Chun-Uk, chief economist at Kiwoom Securities in Seoul. He may want to dial down tensions until the USA gets a new president.
"Time is in North Korea's favor", said the lawmaker, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the topic.
South Korean national security director Chung Eui-yong told reportersKim expressed "eagerness to meet President Trump as soon as possible".
North Korea has long offered a summit to American leaders, who have not taken up the offer.
Mr Trump hailed "great progress" but said sanctions would remain in place. And will it lead to a denuclearized North Korea? But there's still a lot of time left before we get to that point, and a lot of other issues facing his presidency.
The South Korean visitors to Pyongyang did not see the one-on-one trackers who usually follow visitors in the North and were free to move about on the premises of the hotel, the first official added.
The United States and North Korea were foes throughout the Cold War and fought on opposite sides of a bloody war in the 1950s. As the regime continued to pour more money into their nuclear program, while sanctions strangled their already weak economy, reports from South Korea surfaced of starving soldiers risking it all to sneak across the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), indicating the regime may be losing its grip over the infamous One Million Man Army. "What is new isn't the proposal, it's the response".
The White House also confirmed that Trump is ready to meet Kim "by May", although an exact time and location are yet to be determined.
Should President Trump meet with Kim?
The European Union also hailed the announcement as a "positive development", while German Chancellor Angela Merkel said it offered a "glimmer of hope".
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