Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will travel to neighboring North Korea this week, following a historic summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
China said Wang will visit May 2 and 3 at the invitation of his North Korea counterpart. The brief statement Monday did not include any details about the subject of their meetings.
On Sunday, South Korean officials said Kim plans to invite experts and journalists from Seoul and the United States to observe when North Korea shuts down its nuclear test site in May.
South Korean presidential press secretary Yoon Young-chan, also quoted Kim as saying, “The United States, though inherently hostile to North Korea, will get to know once our talk begins that I am not the kind of person who will use nuclear weapons against the South or the United States across the Pacific.”
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told ABC News the best possible outcome for President Donald Trump’s planned summit with Kim in three to four weeks would be Pyongyang freeing three Americans it is detaining and agreeing to an “irreversible” and “verifiable” end to its nuclear weapons program.
“Who knows how the ultimate discussions will go? We have our eyes wide open,” said Pompeo, in the Middle East on his first overseas trip as the top U.S. diplomat. “Kim is going to have to make a decision. We use the word irreversible. We’re going to look for actions and deeds.”
Pompeo offered no promises of easing economic sanctions in advance of the talks and said that if the Trump-Kim talks fail, “We’re not going to let Kim Jong Un continue to threaten us.”
Seoul said that Kim has also promised to adjust North Korea’s time zone, bringing it up 30 minutes and synchronizing it with the South.
Trump expressed optimism about a planned meeting with Kim, following conversations Saturday with Moon and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Trump tweeted he had a “very good talk” with Moon and updated Abe on plans for his anticipated summit with Kim.
Key U.S. leaders are expressing growing optimism that decades of hostility on the Korean Peninsula are closer than ever to coming to an end.
Trump said at a White House news conference Friday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, “I don’t think he’s playing” when asked about the historic summit between North and South Korea.
Trump said up to three possible sites are being considered for the much-anticipated summit.
Friday, Kim became the first North Korean leader to set foot in South Korea, when he crossed the border to shake the hand of South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
The two leaders agreed to work toward removing all nuclear weapons from the Korean peninsula and vowed to pursue talks that would bring a formal end to the Korean War.
North Korea has in the past made similar commitments about its nuclear program, but failed to follow through. Asked whether Pyongyang’s commitment is real this time, Trump said, “We’re not going to get played.”
“This isn’t like past administrations. We don’t play games,” said Trump, adding that previous administrations had been “played like a fiddle.”
“We will come up with a solution, and if we don’t we will leave the room,” he said.
VOA’s William Gallo contributed to this report.