• South Korea, China, Russia welcome possible meeting between Trump and Kim

An unexpected announcement that a meeting is being planned between the leaders of long-time adversaries the United States and North Korea has been welcomed by regional powers China and Russia as well as South Korea.

According to Press TV, US President Donald Trump said a meeting “is being planned” with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un just hours after speaking to South Korean national security chief Chung Eui-yong on Thursday.

Chung, who had paid a visit to Pyongyang earlier this week, said he had passed on a message to Trump that Kim was “committed to demilitarization” and had “pledged that North Korea will refrain from any further nuclear or missile tests” if its security is guaranteed.

Speaking outside the White House on Thursday, he said Trump had expressed willingness to sit down with Kim “as soon as possible.”

“Kim pledged that North Korea will refrain from any further nuclear or missile tests,” Chung said. “He understands that the routine joint military exercises between the Republic of Korea and the United States must continue. And he expressed his eagerness to meet President Trump as soon as possible.”

The summit would be the first between a North Korean leader and a sitting US president. Trump and Kim have repeatedly traded insults and threats of military attacks that raised fears of war between Pyongyang and Washington in recent months.

China

China, North Korea’s main ally, said it welcomed the “positive signal” from both sides.

“We welcome this positive signal by the US and North Korea in having direct dialog,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a regular press briefing on Friday. He said that “the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue is moving in the right direction.”

Beijing has long been pushed for the US and North Korea to hold direct dialog.

Asked if China might host the meeting, the spokesman merely said Beijing’s “role in easing the tensions is indispensable.”

Russia hopes meeting does take place

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also hailed the proposed meeting on Friday, saying, “We do hope that this meeting is going to take place.”

“Certainly, it is required to normalize the situation around the Korean Peninsula,” Lavrov was quoted by Russian state news agency Tass as saying on Friday.

South Korea ‘to ensure meeting takes place’

South Korea’s Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha said Seoul is consulting with Washington on the planned summit between Trump and Kim.

Kang had said earlier on Friday that the South would make sure the summit takes place and that it becomes “a meaningful meeting with good outcome.”

A summit is also being planned between Kim and South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in in a Korean border village at the end of April.

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Mar 09, 2018 13:36 UTC
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