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Trump-Kim Meeting by May Greeted as ’Milestone’ by Asia-Pacific Principal Nations

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EIRNS—Last night’s announcement by Pres. Donald Trump that he accepts the invitation to meet with North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un by May, has been greeted as a welcome step in dialogue, by all principal Asian-Pacific nations. Veteran U.S. diplomats are hailing it as "a breakthrough." At the same time, in opposition, geopolitical circles across the Trans-Atlantic are hysterical, denouncing the initiative with predictable invectives: premature, risky, hopeless, doomed, or worse.

Pres. Trump himself tweeted very early this morning, "Kim Jong Un talked about denuclearization with the South Korean Representatives, not just a freeze. Also, no missile testing by North Korea during this period of time. Great progress being made but sanctions will remain until an agreement is reached. Meeting being planned!" Last night, White House spokesperson Sara Sanders issued this statement, "The President greatly appreciates the nice words of the South Korean delegation and President Moon. He will accept the invitation to meet with Kim Jong-un at a place and time to be determined. We look forward to the denuclearization of North Korea. In the meantime, all sanctions and maximum pressure must remain."

South Korea. South Korean President Moon Jae-in said of the news of the meeting, "The May meeting will be recorded as an historic milestone that realized peace on the Korean Peninsula. If President Trump and Chairman Kim meet following an inter-Korean summit, complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula will be put on the right track in earnest." Further, "Our government will carefully handle this opportunity that came like a miracle. We will move things in a way that is faithful and careful, but is not slow."

China. Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said today, that China welcomes the DPRK-USA leader talks. "We fully endorse and support the relevant parties’ dedication to resolving the issue through dialogue and consultation," as reported by [China Daily.

Russia. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, in Ethiopia today, "We consider it to be a step in the right direction. Hopefully, the agreement will be implemented. Obviously it is necessary for normalizing the situation around the Korean Peninsula."

The sequence of events yesterday in Washington, began with a meeting at the White House, for a firsthand report to the President and staff, by South Korea National Security Advisor Chung Eui-Yong, on his recent meetings in North Korea. Coming out of the meeting, Chung gave remarks. "Today I had the privilege of briefing President Trump on my recent visit to Pyongyang, North Korea...I explained to President Trump that his leadership and his maximum pressure policy, together with international solidarity, brought us to this juncture. I expressed President Moon Jae-in’s personal gratitude for President Trump’s leadership.

"I told President Trump that, in our meeting, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said he is committed to denuclearization. Kim pledged that North Korea will refrain from any further nuclear or missile tests. He understands that the routine joint military exercises between the Republic of Korea and the United States must continue. And he expressed his eagerness to meet President Trump as soon as possible.

"President Trump appreciated the briefing and said he would meet Kim Jong-un by May to achieve permanent denuclearization. The Republic of Korea, along with the United States, Japan, and our many partners around the world remain fully and resolutely committed to the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula..."

"Along with President Trump, we are optimistic about continuing a diplomatic process to test the possibility of a peaceful resolution..."

Then followed the issuance of Sanders’ short statement, and at 8 pm, a background teleconference was held for the media, by a "senior administration official," a rush transcript of which was posted. The official said that, since first taking office, Pres. Trump has called for a "new approach. It would require us avoiding the mistakes that have been made over the past 27 yeaars of dialogue and failed approaches to denuclearizing North Korea."

The President worked with allies, and applied pressure. "He has left the door open to dialogue at the right time. And today, he was briefed by President Moon’s—a couple of national security officials—his National Security Advisor Chung Eui-Yong and his intelligence Director Suh Hoon—who came into the Oval office, gave a briefing to the President, as well as several Cabinet officials—Gen. McMaster, Sec. Mattis, Deputy Sec. of State Sullivan, Chief of Staff Gen. Kelly, Dir. of National Intelligence Dan Coats, and CIA Deputy Director Gina Haskell—and conveyed a message from Kin Jong-un to the President.

"Part of that message was a commitment to denuclearize. It also was a commitment to refrain from testing nuclear weapons or missiles. And it was also an indication — oh, and I would also add that Kim Jong-un had made clear that he understands that routine defensive exercises between the Republic of Korea and the United States must continue — or something that will continue. And he conveyed that he wants to meet with President Trump as quickly as possible.

"And so President Trump has agreed to accept an invitation to meet with Kim Jong-un in a matter of a couple of months. And the exact timing and place is still to be determined..."

The official took a few questions, firmly countering quibbles by Dave Nakamura of the Washington Post, about how there should be preliminaries to such a risky meeting, etc. Ending the briefing, the official told Nakamura, "President trump made his reputation on making deals. Kim Jong-un is the one person who is able to make decisions under their authoritarian — uniquely authoritarian — or totalitarian system. And so it made sense to accept an invitation to meet with the one person who can actually make decisions instead of repeating the, sort of, long slog of the past."