- US and North Korean officials are holding talks in the Demilitarized Zone to continue planning a summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
- Trump canceled the June 12 summit in Singapore last week but has since softened his stance.
- The White House has said its “pre-advance team” will leave for Singapore to organise logistics as planned.
The US is still preparing for a summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, despite Trump’s letter cancelling the June 12 summit last week.
On Sunday, Trump confirmed that officials from the two countries were meeting in the Korean Demilitarized Zone.
“Our United States team has arrived in North Korea to make arrangements for the Summit between Kim Jong Un and myself,” Trump tweeted. “I truly believe North Korea has brilliant potential and will be a great economic and financial Nation one day. Kim Jong Un agrees with me on this. It will happen!”
According to reports, the US delegation is being led by Sung Kim, the former special representative for North Korea policy and former US ambassador to South Korea.
Jeffrey Lewis, a nuclear-policy expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, said that bringing in Sung Kim indicated Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was “really trying to make this happen.”
On Friday, Trump tweeted that if the summit did happen, it “will likely remain in Singapore on the same date, June 12th.”
The White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, expanded further on Saturday, saying officials were still heading to Singapore to coordinate logistics.
“The White House pre-advance team for Singapore will leave as scheduled in order to prepare should the summit take place,” Huckabee Sanders said.
The US State Department also confirmed it was prepping for “ongoing talks.”
“We continue to prepare for a meeting between the president and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un,” the State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.
Things have been happening quickly on the Korean Peninsula since Trump released his letter cancelling the meeting. South Korean President Moon Jae-in immediately held a midnight meeting with his cabinet, North Korea said it was still willing to meet with the US to “resolve issues,” and on Friday Trump said the US and North Korea were talking.
“We are having very productive talks with North Korea about reinstating the Summit which, if it does happen, will likely remain in Singapore on the same date, June 12th,” Trump said in a tweet. “And, if necessary, will be extended beyond that date.”
On Saturday, at the North Korean leader’s request, Kim and Moon secretly met for the second time in a month at the DMZ, in part to discuss the potential Trump-Kim summit.
“Chairman Kim and I have agreed that the June 12 summit should be held successfully, and that our quest for the Korean Peninsula’s denuclearization and a perpetual peace regime should not be halted,” Moon said on Sunday.
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