Before his meeting with the South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Washington, US President Donald Trump says he is considering a potential third nuclear summit with North Korea's leader.

US President Donald Trump looks on as South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in listens to a translator during a meeting in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, US. April 11, 2019.
US President Donald Trump looks on as South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in listens to a translator during a meeting in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, US. April 11, 2019. (Reuters)

US President Donald Trump said he and South Korean President Moon Jae-in will discuss North Korea during their White House meeting on Thursday, including potential additional summits with the North's leader, Kim Jong-un. 

Trump said good things have come out of negotiations with North Korea even though Washington did not get what it wanted from the meetings with Kim. He said great progress was made and that he got to know and respect the North Korean leader.

Moon was in Washington for talks that he hoped would help put denuclearisation with North Korea back on track after a failed summit between the United States and North Korean leaders in February.

Ahead of his trip, aides to Moon stressed the need to revive US-North Korea talks as soon as possible after a second summit between Trump and Kim collapsed in Hanoi on February 28.

Trump extended his wishes to Kim in remarks with Moon by his side, while Moon told Trump that there was a dramatic turnaround in the situation on the Korean Peninsula after Trump's first meeting with Kim.

Moon said he believed Trump's diplomacy has led to a reduction in military tension and he believes the issues can be resolved through dialogue.

Frank Ucciardo has more. 

Vietnam fallout

Trump has emerged as an unlikely peacemaker in the Korean peninsula, reversing his initially bellicose approach with a determined effort to put Washington and Pyongyang on a historic path to reconciliation.

But the Hanoi meeting was a letdown. The two leaders cut their talks short, skipping a scheduled final lunch and the expected issuing of a joint statement.

In Washington, that outcome brought Trump praise from Republican legislators who'd worried he would give too much away in pursuit of big headlines.

Trump continues to face criticism that he is out of his depth in talks with Kim, and that sitting down with the dictator has yet to bring many benefits.

But he insists that while he retains an unusually good personal relationship with Kim, he will maintain a tough negotiating line.

"Sometimes, you have to walk," Trump said, slipping into his real estate dealer's lingo, after the Hanoi meeting.

Complicating things for Moon

For Moon, the aftermath has been even more complicated.

He has staked his presidency on engagement with isolated North Korea, pushing for a resumption of South Korean tourism to the North's Mount Kumgang and operations at the Kaesong Industrial Complex, where companies from the South used to be staffed by workers from the North.

But Moon's plan to unveil details of such projects on March 1, right after the Hanoi summit, was scrapped and he is under pressure from opponents on the right. 

One lawmaker branded him the North Korean's "top spokesman."

Kim himself has used the impasse to speak out against international sanctions and warn in colourful, defiant terms that his country will not bow to pressure.

The state-led economy will "deal a telling blow to the hostile forces who go with bloodshot eyes miscalculating that sanctions can bring the DPRK to its knees," a state media report quoted him as saying on Thursday, using the acronym for the North's official name.

Shortly after the Hanoi summit, a series of satellite images emerged suggesting increased activity at the North's Sohae rocket site, triggering an international alarm that the nuclear-armed state might be preparing a long-range or space launch.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies