Seoul says troop withdrawal not linked to treaty


A close ally to the United States during the Cold War and now host to a USA military presence, Singapore also has a diplomatic relationship with North Korea.

Yoon said that the North's decision to return to the Seoul time zone was aimed at facilitating communication with South Korea and also the United States. Trump has since tempered his tone towards North Korea.

The F-22 "Raptor" stealth jets last visited South Korea in December past year when Seoul and Washington staged their largest-ever joint air exercise, days after North Korea test-fired a missile believed to be capable of hitting the USA mainland. North Korea has long demanded their withdrawal as one of the conditions for giving up its nuclear and missile programs.

Moon and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un agreed in their Panmunjom Declaration last week the two Koreas would seek a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War and pursue a peace treaty.

During a telephone call with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday, Moon said he wants the observe the closure of the Punggy-ri test site.

The venue makes the most sense logistically for Kim, the source said, because media facilities and equipment are already in place, which could allow the summit to take place "in late May". Guterres responded that he will try to contribute to the establishment of peace on the Korean Peninsula, according to Moon's office. "Terrorism is a subject for discussion under the dialogue process so why not discuss it within the dialogue ambit?" he said.

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Trump talked about his hopes for meeting Kim at Panmunjom after his summit Monday with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari at the White House.

"Although North Korea has evaded demands from the global community to cease its aggressions for decades, President Trump's peace through strength policies are working and bringing peace to the Korean peninsula", the letter said.

Trump was obviously impressed by the smooth manner in which South Korean President Moon Jae-in's meeting with Kim last Friday was carefully staged from the moment that Kim crossed the Military Demarcation Line to the southern side of the Joint Security Area inside the DMZ to the farewell dinner featuring cold noodles from Pyongyang.

Seoul appears to be moving quickly to show the North it will follow through on the commitments it made during the summit.

North Korea had reneged on previous nuclear deals with the USA and others, including the September 19 accord, under which the North agreed to dismantle its nukes in exchange for a security guarantee and energy.

Expectations for the summit have been heightened after the success of the Kim-Moon meeting, during which the leaders committed to working for denuclearization and a peace treaty.