South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Monday there could be more impromptu talks and summits with North Korea's Kim Jong Un, as US officials sought to revive what would be a historic meeting between President Donald Trump and Kim.
"I truly believe North Korea has brilliant potential and will be a great economic and financial Nation one day", Trump graciously tweeted.
Trump and Abe also reiterated their support for North Korea's complete, verifiable, and irreversible dismantlement (CVID) of its nuclear program.
Japan's Kyodo news agency quoted Abe as saying that the two leaders had agreed to cooperate to make the summit between the US president and North Korean leader meaningful.
The statement's reference to ballistic missiles echoes comments made by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week. An extraordinary flurry of diplomacy since then - much of it led by South Korea - appears to have put the meeting back on track.
From 2009 to 2016, he also headed North Korea's General Reconnaissance Bureau, the unit tasked with cyber warfare and intelligence gathering.
After months of pretending to be normal and reasonable on the diplomatic stage, North Korea's mask has slipped, and Pyongyang is back to threatening a "nuclear-to-nuclear showdown" that will "make the US taste an appalling tragedy it has neither experienced nor even imagined up to now".
Kim Jong Un has expressed a willingness to cooperate to end confrontation between the two Koreans and work toward peace for the sake of a successful summit with Trump, South Korean officials have said. Pentagon official Randall Schriver was part of the USA team, the official said. Now, according to a statement from State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert on Sunday, a US delegation "is in ongoing talks with North Korean officials at Panmunjom", too. And that's part of the explanation for why the United States wants the North Koreans to take steps very soon in the process that show they're serious, like shipping out one or two nuclear weapons.
Trump accused Kim of showing "open hostility" toward Washington, adding US nuclear weapons are far superior to North Korea's - and "so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used". Moon said Sunday that the North's disarmament could be still be a hard process even if Pyongyang, Washington and Seoul don't differ over what "complete denuclearization" of the peninsula means. Pyongyang has rejected unilateral disarmament and has always couched its language in terms of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
North Korea has been keeping China in the loop regarding its recent surge in diplomacy with South Korea and the USA, and Lavrov's trip may be aimed at doing the same for Russian Federation, which was part of a stalled six-party process to bring about the North's denuclearization.
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"We both agreed the June 12 North Korea-US summit must be successfully held", Yonhap News Agency quoted Moon as saying here.
The U.S. has yet to confirm any details.
U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim leaves a hotel in Seoul on Tuesday.
This was further underscored by the PR stunt North Korea pulled this week when it unilaterally "destroyed" its Punggye-ri nuclear test site. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says that since the letter, "the North Koreans have been engaging" with the U.S.
Prime Minister Abe has expressed firm support for the US throughout the ups and downs of the summit-planning process, confirming last Friday that he supported Trump's surprise decision to withdraw the June 12 summit.
Pyongyang, with an ill-equipped conventional military force, has long regarded its nuclear arsenal as principal means to counter "U.S. hostility" and ensure its regime's security.
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was deposed and killed by NATO-backed militants in 2011 after halting his nascent nuclear program. It's not because it is offended at talk of a "Libya model". Last week, Vice President Pence reiterated this is the only basis on which Trump would cut a deal. "He's going to run this the way he sees fit".
During his tenure as a senior intelligence official, Kim was accused by South Korea of masterminding deadly attacks on a South Korean navy ship and an island in 2010, and was linked by United States intelligence to a cyberattack on Sony Pictures in 2014.
Moon and Kim held a historic summit in April where they announced vague aspirations for a nuclear-free peninsula and permanent peace, which Seoul has tried to sell as a meaningful breakthrough to set up the summit with Trump.