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Hard work still needed before Kim-Trump summit - US envoy

AFP  |  Seoul 

There was still some hard work to be done ahead of the upcoming summit between US and North Korean leader Un, a said Saturday after three days of talks in

Stephen Biegun, the US for North Korea, said preparatory talks had been productive, but more dialogue was needed ahead of the summit scheduled for from February 27-28.

on Saturday briefed South Korean on his visit, shortly after Trump revealed the summit would take place in the Vietnamese capital,

"We have some hard work to do with the DPRK between now and then," told Kang, adding: "I'm confident that if both sides stay committed we can make real progress here."

Trump announced as the location on Twitter, hailing as "very productive" the preparatory talks between diplomats from the two

"I look forward to seeing Kim & advancing the cause of peace!" he said.

The State Department said talks during Biegun's three-day trip explored Trump and Kim's "commitments of complete denuclearization, transforming US-DPRK relations and building a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula".

It also confirmed had agreed to meet his North Korean counterpart Chol again before the summit.

North has yet to provide any official confirmation of the summit and Un appeared to make no mention of it during a meeting earlier with the top brass of the

As reported by state media, the meeting focused on the need to modernise the military while maintaining party discipline in the ranks.

Attention will now focus on whether the US team have offered to lift some economic sanctions in return for taking concrete steps toward denuclearisation.

Discussions on declaring an end to the 1950-53 Korean War could also have been on the table, with Biegun last week saying Trump was "ready to end this war."

The three-year conflict ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty, leaving the two Koreas still technically at war, with the US keeping 28,500 troops in the South.

Experts say the most likely scenario in is that the concerned parties -- North and South Korea, the US, and -- to declare a formal end to the war as a political statement.

At their landmark summit in last year, the mercurial US and North Korean leaders produced a vaguely worded document in which Kim pledged to work towards "the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula".

But progress has since stalled, with the two sides disagreeing over what that means.

Experts say tangible progress on Pyongyang's nuclear weapons will be needed for the second summit if it is to avoid being dismissed as "reality TV."

On Friday Trump tweeted that North will become a "great Economic Powerhouse" under Kim.

"He may surprise some but he won't surprise me, because I have gotten to know him & fully understand how capable he is," said Trump.

But Park Won-gon, a at South Korea's Handong University, said Trump's remarks may not align with Pyongyang's current agenda.

"What Pyongyang wants now, more than anything, is the lifting of the existing sanctions," Park told AFP.

"The idea of being an may sound too vague and even unrealistic for them at this moment."

North Korea, which holds most of the peninsula's mineral resources, was once wealthier than the South, but decades of mismanagement and the demise of its former paymaster the have left it deeply impoverished.

In 2017 the banned the North's main exports -- coal and other mineral resources, fisheries and -- to cut off its access to hard currency in response to Pyongyang's pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, February 09 2019. 10:50 IST