White House says United States 'continues to actively prepare' for summit

Saul Bowman
June 1, 2018

The reports indicate that planning for the historic summit, initially scheduled for June 12, is moving ahead after Trump called it off last week.

South Korea's President Moon Jae-in said on Monday there could be more impromptu talks and summits with North Korea's Kim Jong Un, as USA officials prepare for a historic meeting between President Donald Trump and Kim.

"We have put a great team together for our talks with North Korea", Trump tweeted Tuesday morning.

North Korea defends its nuclear and missile programmes as a deterrent against perceived aggression by the United States, which keeps 28,500 troops in South Korea, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean war, which ended in a truce, not a peace treaty. Two weeks of hard-nosed negotiating, including a communications blackout by the North and a public cancellation by the US, appeared to be paying off as the two sides engaged in their most substantive talks to date about the meeting. For the very first time in the past few years, the heads of the states of North Korea and China have met again, as have the leader of North and South Korea met in the last few weeks.

"Solid response to my letter, thank you!"

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

Russian Federation was a member of six-nation talks held between 2003-8 aimed at persuading the North to scrap its nuclear programme. Japan, as a close ally threatened by Kim's weaponry, could also be included-but at minimum must be kept fully informed.

President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed Monday that it is "imperative" to completely dismantle North Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program, the White House said.

The call came as diplomatic efforts to salvage the summit, which now appears back on track despite Trump's letter, moved into high gear, with US and North Korean officials meeting at the peace village of Panmunjom on the North-South border and in Singapore. The pair arrived in Beijing on Tuesday, Yonhap, the South Korean news agency, reported. He used the restricted VIP entrance, according to AFP journalists. "There remains a great deal of work to do", Pompeo said, citing ongoing talks in Singapore and in the demilitarized zone on the Korean border.

"We're still finalising exactly what these meetings will look like", she said.

The trip is part of a flurry of diplomacy before the on-again, off-again summit originally scheduled for June 12 in Singapore. During Saturday's inter-Korean summit, the Korean leaders agreed to "positively cooperate with each other as ever to improve (North Korea)-U.S. relations and establish (a) mechanism for permanent and durable peace".

"Having gone this far, there is value in meeting and greeting, gripping and grinning, and just establishing a rapport", he said.

On Sunday, the U.S. state department said American and North Korean officials had met at Panmunjom.

How important is it that the North Korean general is heading to Washington? White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says that since the letter, "the North Koreans have been engaging" with the U.S.

"Kim Jong Un has been anxious for a long time, and his father before him, to meet with the US president and develop the appearance for internal political purposes that he's the peer of the American president".

Those include two deadly attacks in 2010 that killed 50 South Koreans and an alleged 2014 cyberattack on Sony Pictures.

Trump confirmed in a tweet Tuesday that senior North Korean official Kim Yong Chol is coming to NY.

He would be the highest-level North Korean official to travel to the US since 2000.

The key task is to settle the agenda. And after a suitably conciliatory statement from North Korea, Trump said the same.

The United States has demanded the "complete, verifiable, and irreversible" dismantlement of North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

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