Donald Trump: US-North Korea summit back on for June 12

Saul Bowman
June 1, 2018

South Korea's Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon has expressed the country's willingness to help realize the planned US-North Korea summit. Since then, he has suggested the summit could be back on, and Kim Yong Chol's trip to the USA seems to imply that preparations for a meeting could be in the final stages.

A team led by White House Deputy Chief of Staff Joe Hagin is scheduled to be in Singapore this weekend, meeting with North Korean officials to plan for the June 12 summit.

The White House says it is continuing to "actively prepare" for an "expected summit" between President Donald Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong Un in Singapore.

During a telephone call, the pair "discussed recent developments in North Korea and confirmed they would meet again to continue close coordination in advance of the expected meeting between the United States and North Korea", a White House statement read.

Kim Yong-chol, a vice chairman of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party's Central Committee, is traveling to NY and will meet with Pompeo "later this week", White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

Russian Federation said Wednesday that its foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, will travel to North Korea for talks on Thursday.

Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of the ruling Workers' Party's Central Committee and formerly head of a top North Korean military intelligence agency, was scheduled to fly to the United States on Wednesday after speaking to Chinese officials in Beijing, South Korea's Yonhap news agency said, citing an unidentified source. He also attended the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics in South Korea in February at the start of Kim Jong Un's charm offensive.

In October 2000, then-leader Kim Jong Il, the current North Korean leader's father, sent Vice Marshal Jo Myong Rok to Washington on a then-unprecedented goodwill mission.


"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., and, if necessary, will be extended beyond that date", Trump tweeted Friday.

Kim Yong Chol's trip comes amid two sets of other pre-summit talks between Washington and Pyongyang.

The conference had been scheduled for June 12 in the island nation, but Trump announced last week that he had chose to "terminate" the meeting following a provocative statement from the North and its decision to skip planning talks and ignore preparatory phone calls.

On Sunday, the U.S. State Department said American and North Korean officials had met at Panmunjom. "That hasn't changed. And it's moving along pretty well, so we'll see what happens", he said.

But events have moved quickly since Kim Jong Un made a conciliatory New Year's address at the end of last year, following months of sharply rising tension and war-like rhetoric between Trump and Kim.

In Kim Jong Un and Moon's first meeting on April 27, they agreed to seek the "complete denuclearisation" of the Korean peninsula but did not define what that meant or how that would proceed. 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 there are lingering doubts on whether Kim will every fully relinquish his nuclear arsenal, which he may see as his only guarantee of survival in a region surrounded by enemies.

But South Korea, which has lobbied hard for the talks between Trump and Kim, has insisted that Kim can be persuaded to abandon his nuclear facilities, materials and bombs in a verifiable and irreversible way if offered credible security and economic guarantees.

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