Kim summit venue shows possibility of moving beyond conflict: State Department

Reuters

Reuters

State Department spokesman Robert Palladino told a news briefing that U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun was in Pyongyang to prepare the February 27-28 summit and seeking progress on commitments made at the first meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore in June.

The United States looks forward to having a "very good" second summit with North Korea at the end of this month, the State Department said Thursday while sparing details.

The president had previously announced Vietnam as the summit location, but the city hadn't been identified.

"What is unique about the next Moon-Kim summit is that it will likely be held in Seoul, which would make Kim the first North Korean leader to visit the South's capital since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War", KJD reported, quoting a letter Kim sent to Moon past year in which he said he was willing to visit Seoul. The State Department said earlier in the week that Biegun would travel to Pyongyang for talks with his North Korean counterpart Kim Hyok Chol on Wednesday, but has not commented further. He is expected to brief South Korean officials about his visit to North Korea over the weekend. "North Korea will become a different kind of Rocket - an Economic one!"

South Korea's Yonhap News agency quoted that country's foreign ministry as saying that Biegun arrived back in Seoul from Pyongyang on Friday evening, Seoul time, and would meet with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha on Saturday morning to provide her a briefing on the results of his talks.

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The spokesman also thanked Vietnam for hosting the event.

Trump, eager for a foreign policy win to distract from domestic troubles, has been keen for a second summit despite a lack of significant moves by North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press conference that the government hopes that agreements between Trump and Kim in June, including North Korea's commitment to working toward the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, will be fully and swiftly implemented. -North Korea dialogue and is ready to cooperate with both sides to make the meeting happen.

Trump said much work remained to be done in the push for peace with North Korea, but cited the halt in its nuclear testing and no new missile launches in 15 months as proof of progress.

Trump's meeting with Kim last June in Singapore produced a joint statement between the two leaders but no concrete plan for denuclearization.

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