Published: Tue, February 05, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

US, South Korean diplomats meet ahead of Trump-Kim summit

US, South Korean diplomats meet ahead of Trump-Kim summit

Trump announced a halt to joint exercises with South Korea in June after his first meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, saying they were expensive and paid for mostly by the United States.

"I don't like to take things off the table", Mr Trump said in an interview on CBS's "Face the Nation" that will air on Sunday (Feb 3).

Intercontinental ballistic missiles are seen at a grand military parade celebrating the 70th founding anniversary of the Korean People's Army at the Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) February 9, 2018.

Biegun said such corresponding steps would be the subject of this week's talks and Washington was willing to discuss "many actions" to improve ties and entice Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons.

"An inter-Korean summit will naturally be the next step following the second North Korea-U.S. summit", an official from Seoul's presidential office told Yonhap on condition of anonymity.

"The United States and the Republic of Korea have reached an agreement in principle on a new Special Measures Agreement", a spokeswoman said.

In particular, he spelled out that the United States hopes to move "simultaneously and in parallel" with the North Koreans in implementing the pledges their two leaders made in Singapore, including denuclearization, transforming their relations and building lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.

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The United States has stressed that US troops are not a bargaining chip and South Korea has said USA troops in the South were unrelated to any future peace treaty and that American forces should stay even if such an agreement is signed. "I think he's also exhausted of going through what he's going through", Trump told CBS News.

That would extend the offer that Kim Jong Un apparently made when he met South Korean President Moon Jae-in last September, to dismantle Yongbyon.

Trump also said it was important to keep a U.S. military base in Iraq so that Washington can keep a close eye on Iran, according to the interview.

South Korean officials have said Seoul had sought to limit its share to $1 trillion won ($891 million) and make the agreement valid for at least three years.

The 2014 deal that expired last year required Seoul to pay about 960 billion won ($848 million) a year for keeping some 28,500 US troops in the South Korea.

"It looks like we're doing very well with making a deal with China", said Trump, who struck an upbeat note following two days of US-China trade talks at the White House this week.

In the past Pyongyang has given the impression it was not interested in working-level talks and instead wanted to leave all the big decisions to Trump and Kim Jong Un - perhaps because they felt Trump was more easily outmaneuvered. "I don't think he'd do that".

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