First Kim-Trump summit in June 12, in Singapore at 9 a.m. (local time). Second in Pyongyang?

The leaders of North Korea and the U.S. may have multiple meetings to discuss Pyongyang’s denuclearization, after the White House called the planned June 12 summit the “first meeting,” indicating the nuclear disarmament talks may take some time to be concluded.

The expectation is that the leaders may agree on a big framework at the first meeting and discuss details in following talks

In the announcement that the summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump will begin at 9 a.m., June 12, in Singapore (local time), the White House implied that this would be the starting point of a process.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders referred to the June 12 summit as the “first meeting.” This is in line with Trump’s remarks after he met with top North Korean official Kim Yong-chol last week.

After the meeting in Washington, D.C., at which Kim delivered a letter from the North Korean leader, the U.S. president said the leaders “won’t sign something” June 12, and that they were “going to start a process.”

Trump referred to the summit as a “getting-to-know-you meeting, plus.”

The White House said working-level meetings between North Korea and the U.S. at the truce village of Panmunjeom were going well.

These talks began May 27 between delegations led by North Korea’s Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui and U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, who was an ambassador to South Korea and top envoy to the six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear program.

“Discussions have been very positive, and significant progress has been made,” Sanders said.

The denuclearization timeframe had been the key point of contention. While Pyongyang had said it wants a phased process in which it is rewarded each time for a step-by-step implementation, the U.S. had been seeking a one-shot deal, in which North Korea instantly and completely gives up its nuclear program and is rewarded afterward.

Speculations are that the two sides may agree on North Korea giving up its nuclear weapons in exchange for a guarantee of its regime security through the establishment of diplomatic relations between Pyongyang and Washington.

Ending the 1950-53 Korean War would be part of providing North Korea with regime security, and rumors have arisen that President Moon Jae-in may join Trump and Kim in Singapore after their meeting to declare the end of the war or at least to discuss the matter. Cheong Wa Dae and the foreign ministry have stated that a trip to Singapore by Moon has not been decided. The possibility of China’s participation in the discussions to end the war may further complicate the issue.

Meanwhile, the White House said sanctions on North Korea will continue until denuclearization is achieved.

After the meeting with Kim Yong-chol, Trump said he would not use the term “maximum pressure” amid an amicable mood with the North after the summit was put back on track. Earlier, Trump had called off the meeting citing hostile comments from North Korea.

“Our policy hasn’t changed, and as the president stated, we have sanctions on, they’re very powerful and we would not take those sanctions off unless North Korea denuclearized,” Sanders said.

Regarding summit preparations, an advance U.S. team is in Singapore to make final protocol arrangements, and is set to stay there until the summit, according to the White House. Meetings with North Korean delegates took place there last week.

Source – The Korea Times.

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