The South Korean government remains eager for another summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, a presidential office spokesperson said on Tuesday.
At a press briefing on Tuesday, Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said that the planned summit between the two leaders would go ahead, despite President Donald Trump’s decision to cancel Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to Pyongyang.
“As I said the other day, the need for a South-North Korean summit has rather become greater because of the standoff between the United States and North Korea,” he said. “We expect the South-North summit to play a role in paving the way and further expanding the path.”
Kim Eui-kyeom also downplayed talk of delaying the meeting after the two sides failed to hold any follow-up discussions about their summit this month.
“I do not believe the schedule of a great event, such as a summit, will be changed due to small details,” he said.
The two leaders first met in April on the South Korean border village of Panmunjom, where they agreed to an informal end to the Korean War while pledging to work towards the “complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”
They then met again in a surprise meeting in May to discuss ways to salvage a meeting between Kim and President Donald Trump. The two countries have also discussed plans for a number of joint projects, including a Trans-Siberian Railway linking the two countries with Russia, as well as making a joint bid for the 2030 World Cup.
The meeting eventually took place in Singapore, where the two leaders agreed to revive “relations in accordance with the desire of the population of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity,” and North Korea made a commitment to “work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
Talks between the U.S. and North Korea have progressed steadily since then. Last week, Trump instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo not to return to North Korea over concerns that China was not doing enough to aid negotiations in pursuit of a successful outcome.
“I have asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo not to go to North Korea, at this time, because I feel we are not making sufficient progress with respect to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Additionally, because of our much tougher Trading stance with China, I do not believe they are helping with the process of denuclearization as they once were (despite the UN Sanctions which are in place).”
“Secretary Pompeo looks forward to going to North Korea in the near future, most likely after our Trading relationship with China is resolved,” he continued. “In the meantime, I would like to send my warmest regards and respect to Chairman Kim. I look forward to seeing him soon!”