North and South Korea’s leaders held surprise talks on Saturday after President Donald Trump cast an uncertain pall over the turbulent Korean peninsula by cancelling a historic summit with Pyongyang only to suggest it might still go ahead.
Photos released by South Korea showed President Moon Jae-in shaking hands with his counterpart Kim Jong Un on the North Korean side of the Demilitarised Zone separating the two nations.
South Korea’s presidential Blue House said the two leaders held talks for two hours on Saturday afternoon in the same Panmunjom truce village where they had met last month, making a declaration vowing to improve ties.
“They exchanged views and discussed ways to implement the Panmunjom Declaration and to ensure a successful US North Korea summit,” the Blue House said in a statement, adding Moon would make a personal statement on Sunday morning.
On Thursday Trump rattled the region by cancelling his meeting with Kim which had been due to take place in Singapore on June 12 citing “open hostility” from Pyongyang.
But within 24 hours he reversed course saying it could still go ahead after productive talks were held with North Korean officials.
The original decision to abandon the historic summit blindsided South Korea which had been brokering a remarkable detente between Washington and Pyongyang after months of Kim and Trump trading insults and threats of war.