A South Korean delegation returned to Seoul from Pyongyang on Wednesday, and on Thursday, South Korean national security adviser Chung Eui-yong said North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in will hold a third summit in Pyongyang Sept. 18-20 to discuss "practical measures" toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Nuclear negotiations have stalled since Kim met with President Trump in June, but Chung said Kim had expressed an "unchanged" faith in Trump, "particularly emphasized that he has never said anything negative about President Trump," and said he wanted denuclearization and an end to hostilities with the U.S. by the end of Trump's first term in 2021.
"Chairman Kim Jong Un has made it clear several times that he is firmly committed to denuclearization, and he expressed frustration over skepticism in the international community over his commitment," Chung told reporters on Seoul on Thursday. "He said he's pre-emptively taken steps necessary for denuclearization and wants to see these goodwill measures being met with goodwill measures." The U.S. said it has already taken steps, like suspending joint military exercises with South Korea, and as The Associated Press notes, "the trove of comments from Kim was filtered through his propaganda specialists in Pyongyang and the South Korean government, which is keen on keeping engagement alive."
North Korea has previously included a withdrawal of U.S. troops from South Korea and removal of the U.S. nuclear umbrella over South Korea and Japan as part of denuclearization, and it isn't clear if Kim has changed that stance. "Looks like Kim is trying to wash away worries that talks could stall or fail, knowing well that Washington is losing patience," Koh Yu-hwan, a professor of North Korean Studies at Seoul's Dongguk University, tells Reuters. Peter Weber