President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in are hopeful that talks between North and South Korea could lead to discussions between Washington and Pyongyang, Seoul said in a statement Wednesday.
The talks “may go beyond North Korea’s participation in the PyeongChang Olympic Games eventually lead to talks between the U.S. and North Korea for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” the Blue House, the South Korean presidential office, said in a statement on the second phone call between Trump and Moon in less than a week.
North and South Korea met at the border Tuesday for high-level talks for the first time in two years. Discussions were focused on the North’s participation in the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea and defusing tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
The Blue House also revealed that Trump is supposedly open to talks with North Korea. “President Trump said the United States is open to talks should North Korea want them, as long as the circumstances and timing are right,” South Korea’s presidential office explained.
Trump has reportedly said that he would be open to talks with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un on the phone, but there are clearly preconditions, as is indicated by the South’s statement on appropriate timing and circumstances.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said last year the U.S. is ready to meet with the North Koreans without any preconditions, but the White House immediately walked back his offer, explaining that the U.S. and North Korea are not there yet.
While North and South Korea are talking and even making progress, the two sides have hit a few speed bumps. For instance, the North expressed displeasure when South Korea attempted to discuss North Korea’s illegal nuclear program and the possibility of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula. The two sides have, however, managed to open multiple lines of communication for de-escalation.
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