A group of U.S. officials crossed into North Korea on Sunday for talks on preparations for a summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, according to The Washington Post.
The newspaper, citing a person familiar with the arrangements, said former U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Sung Kim was summoned from his current post in the Philippines to lead the preparations.
President Donald Trump said late Saturday preparations for the planned June 12 U.S.-North Korea summit in Singapore are still on track and the details are being worked out.
The talks “are going very, very well,” Trump said.
“I think people want to see if we can get the meeting and get something done. We got that done and we can be successful in the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, that would be a great thing for North Korea, it would be a great thing for South Korea, it would be great for Japan, it would be great for the world, it would be great for the United States, it would be great for China. A lot of people are working on it. It’s moving along very nicely,” Trump said.
North, South leaders meet
In North Korea, state media reported Saturday night that it’s North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s “fixed will” that a summit with US President Donald Trump in Singapore should go ahead.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in met Saturday afternoon with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un near the two Koreas’ heavily militarized border.
The leaders exchanged views on how to prepare for the North’s possible summit with U.S. President Donald Trump, the South Korean presidential office said.
After the meeting, South Korea’s President Moon was upbeat.
“It was like an ordinary encounter between friends,” he said of his Saturday meeting with Kim Jong Un.
Moon said the North Korean leader remains committed to denuclearization.
“What’s uncertain for Kim is not his intention to denuclearize, but the U.S. stance in hostile relations with North Korea and whether the US can really secure and guarantee his regime,” Moon said.
Hope for successful summit
The two leaders reiterated hopes for a successful North Korea-US summit after Trump abruptly canceled a meeting between the two countries planned for June 12 in Singapore. Trump cited hostile comments from top North Korean officials as his reason for scrapping the meeting, as well as concern about the country’s commitment to giving up its nuclear weapons.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Saturday in a statement, “The White House pre-advance team for Singapore will leave as scheduled in order to prepare should the summit take place.” Politico magazine reported earlier that an advance team of 30 White House and State Department officials were preparing to depart later this weekend.
Kim thanked Moon “for much effort made by him” towards the summit, and said he hoped to improve relations with Washington and “establish mechanism for permanent and durable peace.”
Leaders of North and South Korea also agreed to “meet frequently”, the North’s KCNA agency added.