News ID: 215389
Published: 0121 GMT May 20, 2018

South Korea, US to work closely on summit after Pyongyang's about-face

South Korea, US to work closely on summit after Pyongyang's about-face
The US President Donald Trump and South Korea's President Moon Jae-in hold a joint press conference at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, on November 7, 2017.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and US President Donald Trump held discussions on Sunday to ensure that the North Korea-US summit remains on track after North Korea threatened to pull out of the high-level talks.

Moon and Trump spoke over the phone for about 20 minutes, and exchanged their views on North Korea’s recent reactions, South Korea’s presidential office said without elaborating, Reuters reported.

“The two leaders will work closely and unwaveringly for the successful hosting of the North Korea-US summit set on June 12, including the upcoming South Korea-US summit,” the presidential official said.

Moon and Trump are set to meet on Tuesday in Washington before North Korean leader Kim Jong-un meets with Trump on June 12 in Singapore.

A historic inter-Korean summit in late April raised hopes of reconciliation.

But following US-South Korean air combat drills known as Max Thunder, North Korea’s chief negotiator Ri Son-gwon said on Thursday it would not hold talks with South Korea unless their demands were met.

It came a day after it threatened to pull out of the summit with the United States.

Further dampening the mood, a spokesman for North Korea’s Red Cross Society demanded on Saturday that South Korea’s government should send North Korean female restaurant workers back to their home “without delay” to show the will to improve the inter-Korean ties, the North’s Korea Central News agency said.

A dozen North Korean restaurant workers came to South Korea in 2016 from China, and North Korea had urged to send them back claiming they were abducted by the South, even though the South has said the 12 workers decided to defect of their own free will.

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