Trump optimistic about North Korea summit as Moon, Kim hold surprise meeting

(LEAD) South Korea vows to faithfully implement summit agreement with NK

Abe backs Trump's cancellation of U.S.-N. Korea summit

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in met Saturday for the second time in a month, exchanging a huge bear hug and broad smiles in a surprise summit at a border village to discuss Kim's potential meeting with President Donald Trump and ways to follow through on the peace initiatives of the rivals' earlier summit.

"Our government will do its part in carrying out the Panmunjom Declaration", Cho told reporters, referring to the agreement President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un reached during their April 27 meeting.

In an apparent reference to the unprecedented flurry of cross-border communications that has been taking place since the beginning of this year, Moon said, "We are changing the course of history".

Trump, speaking after welcoming an American who had just returned to the US after being freed from jail in Venezuela, said that meetings are ongoing regarding a possible summit with North Korea and that they have "gone very very well".

"Still, his apparent willingness to continue diplomatic efforts does suggest that Mr. Kim, 34, may be under pressure to satisfy rising expectations in North Korea for economic gains and shake off the painful grip of sanctions", the story says.

Moon's remarks at a televised news conference came nearly simultaneously as Trump said negotiations over the potential summit with Kim that he had canceled last week are "going along very well".

"I believe this is a tremendous setback for North Korea and, indeed, a setback for the world", Trump said in his letter to North Korean officials cancelling the summit.

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President Donald Trump, right, talks as Joshua Holt, who was recently released from a prison in Venezuela, joins him in the Oval Office of the White House, Saturday, May 26, 2018, in Washington. "They very much want to do it".

However, there was a further signal of progress Saturday as White House press secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed a team of USA officials were leaving for Singapore "in order to prepare should the summit take place".

They agreed to have their top officials meet again on June 1.

"We're talking to them now", Trump said of the North Koreans.

It remains unclear whether Kim will ever agree to fully abandon his nuclear arsenal in return, despite Moon's insistence that Kim can be persuaded to abandon his nuclear facilities, materials and bombs in a verifiable and irreversible way in exchange for credible security and economic guarantees.

The Trump administration has demanded North Korea completely and irreversibly shutter its nuclear weapons programme.

Following an unusually provocative 2017 in which his engineers tested a purported thermonuclear warhead and three long-range missiles theoretically capable of striking mainland U.S. cities, Kim has engaged in a flurry of diplomatic activity in recent months. He urged Washington and Pyongyang to resolve their differences through "more direct and closer dialogue between their leaders".

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