Wariness, hope over second summit

World News

February 7, 2019 - 10:03 AM

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Koreans, always deeply divided over how best to deal with their often belligerent northern neighbor, are reacting with both hope and wariness to U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement that he will hold a second nuclear disarmament summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Feb. 27-28 in Vietnam.

But for liberal South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who is eager to push ahead with ambitious plans for engagement with North Korea, a breakthrough in Vietnam is crucial. Moon served as diplomatic middleman between the U.S. and North Korea following the North’s increasingly powerful string of weapons tests and Trump’s threats of military action in 2017.

The Trump administration last week signaled that it would defer some of its most stringent demands on North Korea. Stephen Biegun, the State Department’s special representative for North Korea, indicated in a speech today that the U.S. is no longer insisting Pyongyang provide a detailed accounting of its nuclear and missile programs at the start of the denuclearization process but can do so later in the talks.

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