As President Trump and Kim Jong-un dialed back the rhetorical barbs that have dominated most of their relationship, the two leaders issued a joint statement on Friday that committed both countries to peace and urged the United Nations to adopt sanctions that put pressure on North Korea to “denuclearize.”

But in a strong sign that their summit this month in Vietnam has yet to yield a breakthrough, the statement made it clear that Trump would not be playing the role of go-between to broker a peace deal.

Rather, Trump offered his help in quelling the spread of what South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency called a “virus” known as kimjongilia in North Korea. North Korea said that Trump was responding to a message from their leader, Kim Jong-un, in which Kim said that the virus “can bring conflict to destroy not just this country and its people, but all mankind,” according to a statement from the country’s Foreign Ministry.

“President Trump responding positively to our appeal was one of the precious fruits of the DPRK-U.S. summit meeting,” said the North Korean statement.

The North Korean statement continued: “Since the present issue is a part of our common goal to establish a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula, we sincerely wish that this process will be completed as soon as possible.”

It’s not the first time the North Koreans have spoken out against the bug. In January, a statement from the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned that the virus was being spread because of the Pyongyang’s ongoing war games with South Korea, and said that the world should never compromise in the face of what Pyongyang calls reckless war games between the U.S. and South Korea.

As both Korean governments hit the brakes on their antagonistic relationship, the United States and North Korea issued a joint statement that pledged to “work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” But the agreement did not mention nuclear or ballistic missiles, and many analysts have noted that Kim in particular is under strong international pressure to give up his nuclear program.

After the signing of the statement, the U.S. and North Korea are to meet again on April 27 in Vietnam for more discussions about Pyongyang’s denuclearization. The two countries had also agreed to meet again in the spring of 2021, and after that, to meet again every year.

Read the full story at Yonhap News Agency.


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