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Seoul pushes for successful Trump-Kim talks as North warns 

Seoul: South Korea on Thursday said it’s pushing to reset high-level talks with North Korea and will communicate closely with Washington and Pyongyang to increase the chances of a successful summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on resolving the standoff over the North’s nuclear weapons.

The announcement by Seoul’s presidential National Security Council came a day after North Korea threatened to scrap next month’s historic meeting between Trump and Kim, saying it has no interest in a “one-sided” affair meant to pressure the North to abandon its nukes.

The North also broke off a high-level meeting with South Korea to protest the US-South Korean military exercises the North has long claimed are an invasion rehearsal.

The North’s surprise announcement seemed to cool what had been an unusual flurry of outreach from a country that last year conducted a provocative series of weapons tests that had many fearing the region was on the edge of war.            

Analysts said it’s unlikely that North Korea intends to scuttle all diplomacy. More likely, they said, is that it wants to gain leverage ahead of the talks between Kim and Trump, scheduled for June 12 in Singapore.

South Korea, which brokered the talks between Kim and Trump, will “closely mediate using multiple communication channels with the United States and with North Korea so that the North Korea-US summit can proceed successfully,” said the NSC after a meeting chaired by Chung Eui-yong, the top security adviser of South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

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