South Korea said on Thursday it intends to play the role of mediator after North Korea threatened to pull out of a summit with the United States aimed at the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, Reuters reports.
North Korea on Wednesday said it might not attend the June 12 summit in Singapore if the United States continued to demand it unilaterally abandon its nuclear arsenal, which it has developed in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions to counter perceived U.S. hostility.
Doubts over the summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump arose on Wednesday when Pyongyang denounced U.S.-South Korean military exercises as a provocation and called off high-level talks with Seoul.
South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha told parliament that North Korea and the United States had differences of views over how to achieve denuclearisation. Trump acknowledged on Wednesday it was unclear if the summit would go ahead.
“It is true that there are differences of opinion between the North and the United States on methods to accomplish denuclearisation,” Kang told lawmakers, according to Yonhap News Agency.
A South Korean presidential Blue House official said the South intends to more actively perform “the role of a mediator” between the United States and North Korea.
Trump will host South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the White House on May 22.
The Blue House intends to “sufficiently convey (to the United States) what we’ve discerned about North Korea’s position and attitude... and sufficiently convey the United States’ position to North Korea”, thereby helping to bridge the gap, the official said.
Asked if she trusted Kim Jong Un, South Korean Foreign Minister Kang said: “Yes.”