South Korean President Moon Jae-in said that working-level negotiations are to be held in advance in order to make concrete progress in talks between the United States and North Korea amid signs of the resumption of their talks, which had been stalled since the U.S.-North summit talk in Hanoi. He implied that North Korea should respond to requests on working-level talks by the United States to facilitate a third U.S.-North summit while U.S. President Donald Trump repetitively emphasized that he would not be rushed to resume the talks with his North Korean counterpart, Kim Jong Un.
President Moon said on Saturday (local time) in a joint press conference after his summit with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven that working-level talks should precede a next U.S.-North summit so that it can prevent the two leaders from ending their talks without results just as they did in Hanoi, Vietnam. It was the first occasion for Moon to mention the necessity of U.S.-North Korea working-level talks. The South Korean president’s remarks intend to stress that Pyongyang should come to the negotiating table, albeit working- level, to continue with a top-down approach in negotiations for a third Trump-Kim summit to happen.
President Moon’s message is intended to make sure to Pyongyang that the two Koreas directly engage in a summit while Pyongyang has working-level discussion with Washington prior to President Trump’s visit to South Korea late this month, according to some experts. It has been thought that President Trump would find it hard to create momentum for dialogue with the North if he misses a perfect timing with the G20 meeting in Osaka. He plans to embark on the election campaign starting from June 18 aiming for a second term. Meanwhile, it is anticipated that a visit by United States Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun, prior to President Trump’s, will be a watershed event in the resumption of the U.S.-North talks.
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