North Korea's silence on its upcoming summits with the United States and South Korea is probably due to caution over organising its stance on the meetings, the South said on Monday, as China's leader urged patience.
Chung led Moon's special envoys to the North and the U.S. He is set to visit Russian Federation to share the outcome of the trips. China played a key role especially in forging agreement among the parties.
When Mr Trump called Xi Jinping the day after his decision to meet Mr Kim, the Chinese leader no doubt appreciated being consulted and said he hoped that the dialogue with North Korea would start as soon as possible.
If new negotiations are launched, China may not have a seat at the table and that prospect is creating anxiety. This is in addition to the "permanent aircraft-carrier" of Guam, naval bases and seaborne troops dotted all over the Indo-Pacific region, and approximately 50,000 military personnel in Japan with 40,000 dependents, and another 5,500 civilian employees of the United States defence department. The Special Representative for North Korea Policy just retired.
Asked if China would welcome the chance to host the Trump-Kim meeting, the spokesman gave a cautiously worded response, which amounted to "yes, but we need to be asked first". The South Korean leader visited Beijing in December on a trip aimed at thawing tense bilateral relations strained over Seoul's decision to host a United States missile defence system that Beijing sees as a threat to its own security. Any a summit in North Korea - even outside Pyongyang - is seen as a long-shot as any Trump visit would risk similarly unfavourable criticisms of the American president.
At the annual press conference held during China's National People's Congress, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi took credit for the Korean Peninsula breakthrough.
Ensuring that China has a seat at the negotiating table should not be a central USA objective. "The U.S. wants a peace treaty at the end of the denuclearization process, while for the North, it's the precondition for its denuclearization".
China has recently expressed optimism that an agreement would be reached, likely hoping for a deal which includes the U.S. decreasing its military presence in the region in exchange for denuclearisation.
"What does North Korea mean by the suggestion that it will consider denuclearization as a condition for these talks?" she added.
If China is excluded for the time being, the Trump administration would be wise to keep Beijing in the loop. Trump dispensed with decades of USA foreign policy orthodoxy with his decision, particularly given that the North Korean leader made only a vague offer - conveyed via a South Korean delegation that visited him - to discuss giving up his nuclear weapons program.
"We're not going to have this meeting take place until we see concrete actions that match the words and the rhetoric of North Korea", White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters.Trump praised a possible future agreement with the nuclear-armed North as "very good" for the worldwide community as a whole.