UPDATE : 2019.10.22 TUE 09:55
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Leaders of divided Koreas hold surprise meeting over U.S.-N.K. summit

South Korean President Moon Jae-in held a surprise second meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Saturday, the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said, in an apparent move to convince Kim to hold his scheduled summit with U.S. President Donald Trump.

"President Moon Jae-in held a second summit with Chairman Kim Jong-un at Tongil-gak on the North Korean side of Panmunjom from 3 p.m. through 5 p.m. on (May) 26," Moon's chief press secretary Yoon Young-chan said in a released statement.

In this photo provided by the South Korean presidential office Cheong Wa Dae, South Korean President Moon Jae-in (R) and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un hold each other before parting after their second summit held at the border village of Panmunjom on May 26, 2018. (Yonhap)

The previously unannounced summit came about one month after the leaders held their first-ever meeting at the joint security area of Panmunjom, which sits directly on the inter-Korean border, on April 27.

"The two leaders exchanged their candid views on the implementation of the April 27 Panmunjom Declaration and successful opening of the North-U.S. summit," the statement said.

The second meeting also came two days after the U.S. president called off his scheduled meeting with Kim in Singapore, citing the North's "tremendous anger and open hostility" toward the United States.

The first-ever U.S.-North Korea summit was originally set to be held on June 12.

Earlier Saturday, Trump said his meeting with Kim could still take place as scheduled after the North's Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan said his country has the "intent to sit with the U.S. side to solve problems."

Cheong Wa Dae refused to confirm any details of the latest inter-Korean summit, saying President Moon himself will explain the outcome in a press conference from 10 a.m. on Sunday.

Photos and footage of the meeting released by Cheong Wa Dae show that Moon was accompanied by Suh Hoon, the chief of South Korea's National Intelligence Service spy agency. Kim was accompanied by Kim Yong-chol, a vice chairman of the central committee of the ruling Workers' Party and head of the United Front Department handling inter-Korean relations.

The two leaders embraced each other before parting after their second summit, possibly indicating a successful outcome for the talks widely expected to have focused on the U.S.-North Korea summit.

Trump earlier said his country too was talking to North Korea about their summit.

"We're talking to them now. They very much want to do it. We'd like to do it. We're going to see what happens," he said. (Yonhap)

Lee Sam-sun  edt@koreapost.com

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