North Korea stays silent on Donald Trump meeting with Kim Jong Un | News | DW | 12.03.2018
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North Korea stays silent on Donald Trump meeting with Kim Jong Un

Seoul has not received an official response from North Korea after Donald Trump agreed to talks between the nations' leaders. A South Korean official says Pyongyang likely "needs time to organize its stance."

On Monday, South Korea's Unification Ministry reported that North Korea had yet to provide an official response to a proposed meeting with US President Donald Trump.

"We have not seen nor received an official response from the North Korea regime regarding the North Korea-US summit," Baik Tae-hyun, spokesman for the Unification Ministry, told a press conference.

Read more: How the world reacted to a possible Trump-Kim meeting

Last week, South Korean officials announced that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had initiated an invitation to meet face-to-face with Trump. According to the statement, Kim vowed to stop nuclear tests and missile launches until the meeting, if the US president accepted.

In a surprising move, Trump told reporters that he would accept the offer and meet with the North Korean leader.

But South Korean officials remained hopeful of the prospect of a Trump-Kim meeting, with one saying Pyongyang was likely focused on coordinating its message across official news outlets.

"We think North Korea is taking a cautious approach on the issue as it needs time to organize its stance," Baik said.

'No additional conditions'

In the White House, some have been hesitant to discuss the implications of Trump's quick-draw decision to agree to direct talks.

"When you get in a position like this, the potential for misunderstanding remains very high," said US Defense Secretary James Mattis, who has declined to further comment on the diplomatic push.

Read more: North Korea: From war to nuclear weapons

Deputy White House spokesman Raj Shah told the US broadcaster ABC that the meeting was going ahead without further conditions for the talks.

"This potential meeting has been agreed to, there are no additional conditions being stipulated, but again they cannot engage in missile testing, they cannot engage in nuclear testing and they can't publicly object to the US-South Korea planned military exercises," Shah said.

From brink of war to prospect of peace

Last year, the world watched as Trump and Kim engaged in a war of words, prompting fears from the international community that the two countries were on the cusp of all-out conflict.

Read more: The North Korea crisis: 10 questions, 10 answers

Trump warned North Korea in August that it would be "met with fire and fury like the world has never seen" if it continued to antagonize US interests after Pyongyang threatened to launch missiles towards the US territory of Guam.

Tensions appear to have subsided following North Korea's diplomatic blitz at the Winter Olympic Games last month. On Saturday, Trump said he now believed Kim's promise not to test nuclear capabilities or launch missiles.

ls/ng (AP, Reuters, AFP)

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