The North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has surprised the world once again by meeting his South Korean counterpart for the second time in a month on the heavily militarised north-south border.
The leaders embraced as they met to discuss carrying out the peace commitments they made in their first summit earlier in May. The pair also reportedly discussed Kim’s potential meeting with US president Donald Trump next month.
A spokesman for Moon Jae-In, the South Korean president, said details of the surprise meeting would soon be revealed. The Blue House, South Korea’s presidential office, said in a statement: “They exchanged views and discussed ways to implement the Panmunjom Declaration and to ensure a successful US-North Korea summit.”
The pair made history when they discussed aspirations for a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula and permanent peace.
But relations soon appeared to cool, with North Korea cancelling a high-level meeting with Seoul over its participation in regular military exercises with the United States.
The meeting at a truce village near the border came just hours after South Korea expressed relief over revived hopes for a summit between Donald Trump and Kim.
In a whirlwind 24 hours, the US leader cancelled the highly anticipated meeting, due to take place in Singapore on June 12, before saying it was potentially back on the cards.
Trump said “very productive talks” are ongoing with North Korea over the summit.
South Korea’s Moon said Trump’s decision earlier this week to cancel his planned meeting with Kim, which he delivered via a bizarrely-worded letter, left him “perplexed” and was “very regrettable”.
He urged Washington and Pyongyang to resolve their differences through “more direct and closer dialogue between their leaders”.
In his letter to Mr Kim, President Trump objected specifically to a statement from senior North Korean diplomat Choe Son Hui.
She referred to Vice President Mike Pence as a “political dummy” for his earlier comments on North Korea. and said it was up to the Americans whether they would “meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown”.
North Korea issued an unusually restrained and diplomatic response to President Trump, saying it is still willing to sit for talks with the United States “at any time, [in] any format”.