South Korea seeking high-level talks with North Korea this month

Vastavam Web: South Korea said on Friday it was seeking high-level talks this month with North Korea to prepare for a summit and that South Korean President Moon Jae-in may meet Donald Trump before the U.S. president’s planned meeting with the North Korean leader.Amid a flurry of diplomacy from Asia to Europe to Washington, Trump reaffirmed his plan to meet with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un by the end of May during a phone call on Friday with Moon and both voiced “cautious optimism” about efforts to resolve the crisis over North Korea’s nuclear weapons.

They “emphasized that a brighter future is available for North Korea, if it chooses the correct path,” it said.Earlier, Moon’s chief of staff, Im Jong-seok, said proposed North-South talks in late March would cover key agenda topics and other details of the pending summit between Moon and Kim.Pompeo has engaged with counterparts through a channel that runs between the CIA. and North Korean counterpart, the Reconnaissance General Bureau. He remains in close touch with the director of South Korea’s National Intelligence Service, Suh Hoon, said a U.S. official familiar with the preparations.

For many years, the main and often only channels of official communication between Washington and Pyongyang have been South Korea’s intelligence service and North Korea’s UN Mission in the United States, the official added.If North Korea agrees to the talks, they would offer an opportunity for Pyongyang to break its silence on what Seoul says is Kim’s desire to meet Trump and Moon and his willingness to freeze his country’s nuclear and missile programs.

“We’ve decided to narrow down the agenda topics to denuclearising the Korean peninsula, securing permanent peace to ease military tension and new, bold ways to take inter-Korean relations forward,” Im, the head of South Korea’s summit preparation team, told reporters.South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said Moon pledged in the call with Trump to cooperate closely with Washington on summit diplomacy. Trump asked South Korean officials to show flexibility in trade negotiations with the United States in the call, the South Korean presidency said.

Even amid North Korea tensions, Trump has repeatedly denounced a U.S. free trade deal with ally South Korea as “unfair” and threatened many times to scrap it.