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North Korea nuclear crisis

White House promises ‘brighter future’ for North Korea as Donald Trump and Moon Jae-in plan possible meeting with Kim

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 17 March, 2018, 3:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 17 March, 2018, 5:02am

The United States and South Korea expressed “cautious optimism” Friday that North Korea could enjoy a “brighter future” after a planned summit between US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un before the end of May.

Trump and South Korea President Moon Jae-in discussed preparations for their upcoming meetings with North Korea and agreed that “concrete actions” were the key to achieving denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, the White House said in a statement.

But they also promised to maintain “maximum pressure” on his authoritarian regime and seek action on giving up his nukes before the possible talks.

“The two leaders expressed cautious optimism over recent developments and emphasised that a brighter future is available for North Korea, if it chooses the correct path,” the White House said in a statement.

Moon is due to meet Kim in April, a prelude to what would be first U.S.-North Korean summit during seven decades of hostility since the 1950-53 Korean War.

Trump and Moon spoke as US officials met South Korean and Japanese foreign ministers in Washington.

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North Korea has yet to publicly confirm the summit plans.

The venue for the meeting between the US and the Koreas remains up in the air, although a rare visit by the North’s foreign minister, Ri Yong-ho, to Sweden on Friday fueled speculation the Scandinavian nation might play host.

Sweden has long acted as an intermediary between Pyongyang and Washington, and Trump appears determined to push ahead with talks he believes are possible because of the success of his campaign to isolate the North militarily and economically.

Talks between Sweden and North Korea in Stockholm will continue on Saturday after initially being due to end late on Friday, a source with knowledge of the situation said.

Sweden has said it is ready to act as a facilitator to help resolve tensions on the Korean peninsula.

“Talks will continue tomorrow,” the source said.

Ri arrived in the Swedish capital on Thursday for talks with Swedish counterpart Margot Wallstrom.