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US-North Korea summit likely, active preparations underway — expert

April 27, 18:14 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Mongolia’s Ulan Bator could be the most likely venue, according to the expert

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MOSCOW, April 27. /TASS/. The possibility for a summit of the US and North Korean leaders, Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, is high, as active preparations are underway, Andrei Lankov, Professor at Kookmin University (Seoul), said in a video link with the Valdai international discussion club.

"I tend to believe the summit will take place. There is no utter certainty, but preparations for it are way too active to see them end in a bluff," the expert said in reply to a TASS query about chances for a US-North Korean summit. The expert put the likelihood of the summit at 60 to 70%

He said Mongolia’s Ulan Bator could be the most likely venue. "Mongolia has a good relationship with absolutely everybody, its [geographic] location is very good," Lankov noted.

However, the vice president of the Russian Council for International Affairs, former ambassador to South Korea Gleb Ivashentsov, thinks differently. "Preparations for a summit is a very difficult matter in which a host of details must be settled. Donald Trump won’t fly to the DPRK, while Kim Jong-un won’t fly to Washington. Huge technical preparations are needed, it is not clear where such summit must take place, and I am not sure that it is technically possible to pave the way for this summit in a month’s time," Ivashentsov said. "The second issue is the subject matter for discussion at a meeting of the US and North Korean leaders," he added.

In his opinion, the North Korean people are unlikely to give ground on major issues, such as the country’s nuclear missile program. "A meeting of the US and DPRK leaders is highly unlikely, this is just all talk aimed at advertising Trump, who must become firmly established this way or another, that is why he is making highlight declarations [about the summit]," the expert stressed.

According to earlier reports, Washington and Pyongyang are eyeing the possibility of a summit meeting of Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, preparations for which have reportedly entered a practical stage. The American leader said the summit may take place in "early June or before". On April 18, he tweeted that Mike Pompeo (who was approved as new Secretary of State on April 26) had met with Kim Jong-un in North Korea. "Details of Summit are being worked out now," he tweeted. Trump said five locations were under consideration for their summit meeting.

On Friday, the South Korean and North Korean leaders, Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un, met in the border village of Panmunjeom for a historic summit, the first in more than a decade. The two leaders signed the joint "Panmunjeom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification of the Korean Peninsula".

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