US delegation in N Korea to prepare for summit with Kim: Trump

North Korea leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump.
US delegation in N Korea to prepare for summit with Kim Trump
North Korea leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump.

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump today said a US team was in North Korea to plan a summit with its leader Kim Jong Un, indicating that the much-anticipated meeting could take place as scheduled.

Trump withdrew from the planned June 12 Singapore summit with Kim on Thursday but quickly announced that it could get back on track.

The cancellation apparently followed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo setting some strict ground-rules ahead for the meeting, which in turn resulted in a North Korean minister reportedly saying that Pyongyang could make the US taste an appalling tragedy and that a stalemate could lead to a nuclear-to-nuclear showdown.

Later, the North Korean leaders said they were ready to meet anytime and anywhere. Kim had an unscheduled meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in wherein they discussed ways to revive the summit.

“Our United States team has arrived in North Korea to make arrangements for the Summit between Kim Jong Un and myself,” Trump said in a tweet.

“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!” Trump said in the same tweet.

While the US did not announce the delegation’s members, The Washington Post reported earlier Sunday that Sung Kim, a former US ambassador to South Korea and former nuclear negotiator with the North, had been called in from his posting as envoy to the Philippines to lead the preparations.

Sung Kim met with North Korea’s Vice-Foreign minister Choe Son Hui, who said last week that Pyongyang was “reconsidering” the talks, the daily said.

The two officials know each other well – both were part of their respective delegations that negotiated the 2005 denuclearization agreement through the six-party framework.

The talks are expected to continue tomorrow at Tongilgak, or “Unification House,” the building in the northern part of the demilitarized zone where Kim met Moon on Saturday, The Post reported.

Last year, Trump and Kim were threatening war after Pyongyang tested its most powerful nuclear bomb to date and launched test missiles it said were capable of reaching the United States.

Tensions were calmed after Kim extended an olive branch to Seoul by offering to send a delegation to the Winter Olympics in South Korea, sparking a sudden detente that led to Trump agreeing to hold direct talks with the North Korean leader. PTI

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