Published: Sun, May 06, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

South Korean president to visit U.S. ahead of Trump's North Korea visit

South Korean president to visit U.S. ahead of Trump's North Korea visit

A number of North Korean defector-led advocacy organizations, such as Fighters for a Free North Korea, planned a meeting at the Odu Mountain Unification Observatory near the border with North Korea to release thousands of leaflets denouncing the regime, South Korean media reported.

The two Koreas agreed to sign a peace treaty formally later this year, ending the six-decades-old war between the two countries.

The remarks are likely to be seen as a sweetener ahead of Trump's own planned summit with Kim, which the U.S. president said would take place "in the next three or four weeks".

The maiden US-North Korea summit is likely to be held in Singapore in mid-June. Trump is to push North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons.

A possible meeting between Trump and Kim came to light following a trip then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo took to the rogue nation over Easter weekend.

He is mocking critics' concerns that he would start a war with North Korea and instead says "things were going really well".

Leader Kim Jong Un promised the move during the meeting at Panmunjom in the demilitarized zone that divides the peninsula, when he and the South's President Moon Jae In pledged to pursue denuclearization and a peace treaty.

Trump himself remarked that withdrawing United States forces from North Korea was "not on the table", AP reported.

For decades, the US military has protected South Korea and Japan under its nuclear umbrella, and it shares high-tech military surveillance and conducts annual joint war games preparing for any conflict.

The New York Times said Trump had asked the Pentagon for troop withdrawal options, although Trump said it was not true and Bolton called the report 'utter nonsense'.

Trump, speaking to reporters outside the White House, suggested activity was under way involving the captives.

North Korea on Friday at 2330 returned to Korean Standard Time (KST), bringing the two Koreas into the same time zone for the first time in close to three years. "We'll be announcing it soon".

Pyongyang has demanded as-yet-unspecified security guarantees to discuss its arsenal, but Kim could use the meeting to agree on "the range of nuclear weapons and facilities to be dismantled and specific time frame to do so", said Hong.

"Chairman Kim... said two clocks were hanging on the wall in the waiting room of the Peace House", Senior Secretary to the President for Public Communication Yoon Young-chan said at a special news conference.

Moon also spoke by telephone with Chinese President Xi Jinping, according to South Korea's presidential office.

Also on Friday, U.S. National Security adviser John Bolton met here with Chung Eui-yong, visiting top national security adviser to Moon.

Moon moved quickly Friday to calm jitters about a USA troop reduction, especially among older conservatives who consider the US military's presence a sacrosanct symbol of national security and are deeply dubious of Kim's intentions.

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