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Trump, Kim raise hopes for summit

  Seoul, Sunday

Plans for a landmark summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un are moving “very nicely”, US President Donald Trump said Sunday, as the South’s leader said Kim told him the talks would be a historic opportunity to end decades of confrontation.

The latest conciliatory declarations capped a turbulent few days of diplomatic brinkmanship on the Korean Peninsula that had sent tensions soaring.

Trump rattled the region on Thursday by cancelling a planned June 12 meeting with Kim in Singapore, citing “open hostility” from Pyongyang.

But within 24 hours he reversed course, saying it could still go ahead after productive talks were held with North Korean officials.

“It’s moving along very nicely,” Trump told reporters late Saturday when asked for an update. “We’re looking at June 12 in Singapore. That hasn’t changed.”

Trump’s unpredictability sparked a sudden and surprise meeting on Saturday between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in—only the fourth time leaders from the two countries have ever met—as they scrambled to get the talks back on track.

Pictures showed them shaking hands and embracing on the North Korean side of the Demilitarised Zone separating the two nations.

Moon said Kim reached out to him to arrange the hasty meeting “without any formality”. There the North Korean leader described the Singapore summit as a landmark opportunity to end decades of confrontation.

“He… expressed his intention to put an end to the history of war and confrontation through the success of the North-US summit and to co-operate for peace and prosperity,” Moon told reporters in Seoul on Sunday.  – AFP

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