South Korea on Thursday said that it intended to mediate talks after North Korea threatened to pull out of a summit with the United States aimed at the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, reported Reuters. The announcement was made by Seoul’s National Security Council, according to AP.
On Wednesday, North Korea said it might not attend the June 12 summit in Singapore after a joint military exercise between the US and South Korea.
The National Security Council, chaired by security adviser Chung Eui-yong, said South Korea will “closely mediate using multiple communication channels with the US and North Korea so that the summit can proceed successfully”. The security council also urged North Korea to abide by the agreements reached between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during their summit last month, where they agreed to denuclearise the Korean peninsula.
South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha told the parliament that North Korea and the US had differences of opinion over how to achieve denuclearisation. An unidentified South Korean presidential official told Reuters that the South intends to more actively perform “the role of a mediator” between the US and North Korea. Japanese newspaper Asahi quoting unidentified sources said the US was insisting that North Korea start dismantling its weapons of mass destruction and move them out of the country within six months.
Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump said that the US hasn’t been notified about North Korea’s threat to cancel the summit. “We haven’t heard anything. We will see what happens,” he said, according to AP. White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the administration was “still hopeful” that the summit would take place. She said if there was no meeting, the US would “continue with the campaign of maximum pressure” against the North.