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White House: U.S. 'continues to actively prepare' for summit

01 June, 2018, 16:43 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae-in embraced at the surprise summit. @TheBlueHouseKR

Now, according to a statement from State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert on Sunday, a US delegation "is in ongoing talks with North Korean officials at Panmunjom", too. Getting the U.S.to back off sanctions so he can pursue those goals, along with the boost to his legitimacy and whatever security guarantees he can take home, is more likely foremost on Kim's mind.

Trump and Abe spoke after a government official in Seoul said South Korean President Moon Jae In might travel to Singapore to meet Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The White House National Security Council tells NPR's Scott Horsley that the US delegation in Panmunjom is distinct from the team led by Hagin. Sung Kim, the former USA ambassador to South Korea and current ambassador to the Philippines, led the US delegation, an official told Reuters.

In Singapore, a separate team led by White House deputy chief of staff Joe Hagin met Tuesday with a North Korean delegation led by Kim Chang-son, a senior official at the State Affairs Commission, to arrange the logistics, sources said.

John Bolton, Trump's national security adviser, has had calls with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts "virtually every day", and these calls have been ongoing over the last couple of weeks, Sanders added.

Trump rattled the region on Thursday by cancelling his June 12 meeting with Kim in Singapore citing "open hostility" from Pyongyang.

But both sides have since been working to get it back on track. He also confirmed on Sunday that a USA official team had arrived in the DPRK to talk about the preparation for talks.

"The president and prime minister affirmed the shared imperative of achieving the complete and permanent dismantlement of North Korea's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and ballistic missile programs".




Despite the North's apparent eagerness for a summit with Trump, there are lingering doubts about whether Kim Jong Un will fully relinquish his nuclear weapons, which he may see as his only guarantee of survival.

Kim Yong Chol would be the highest-level North Korean official to travel to the United States since 2000, when Vice Marshal Jo Myong Rok visited Washington and met President Bill Clinton amid warming ties between the wartime foes.

Since that short-lived crisis, diplomats in both countries have conducted an intense flurry of negotiations, culminating on Thursday when Pompeo sat down in NY with Kim's number two, Kim Yong Chol. The statement didn't say when Trump and Abe would meet, but both are scheduled to attend the G20 summit later this month in Toronto. The North's arsenal now includes purported thermonuclear warheads and developmental long-range missiles potentially capable of reaching mainland USA cities.

Kim Yong Chol's official title is a vice chairman of the central committee of the ruling Workers' Party.

On Sunday Sung Kim, a former US ambassador to South Korea and current ambassador to the Philippines, led a delegation to talks on the substance of the summit with North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui.

The White House emphasized that it has remained in close contact with South Korean and Japanese officials as preparations for the talks continue. North Korea and the United States are still technically at war and have no diplomatic ties because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. But less than 24 hours later, Trump said the June 12 meeting would still be possible. South Korea's Defense Ministry said Tuesday there have been no discussions yet between Washington and Seoul on modifying the drills, which usually take place in August.

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