Date
23 June 2018
Kim Jong-un inspects the construction of the ‘Wonsan-Kalma shore Tourist Zone’ in this photo released by North Korean state media on May 25. Credit: KCNA/Reuters
Kim Jong-un inspects the construction of the ‘Wonsan-Kalma shore Tourist Zone’ in this photo released by North Korean state media on May 25. Credit: KCNA/Reuters

US team in N Korea as Trump reconsiders summit pullout

A US team has arrived in North Korea to prepare for a summit between Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, a move that came after the US president apparently reconsidered a decision last week to pull out of the proposed meeting.

“Our United States team has arrived in North Korea to make arrangements for the Summit between Kim Jong Un and myself,” Trump wrote on Twitter Sunday, in Washington’s first confirmation that US officials had entered North Korea for the talks, Reuters reports.

“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 added.

Earlier, the State Department said US and North Korean officials had met at Panmunjom, a village in the Demilitarized Zone that runs along the heavily armed border between North and South Korea.

In addition to those talks, a “pre-advance team” left for Singapore – where the summit has been expected to take place – on Sunday morning to work on logistics, a White House spokeswoman said.

Earlier on Sunday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said he and North Korea’s Kim had agreed during a surprise meeting on Saturday that the North Korea-US summit must be held.

The weekend talks were the latest twist in a week of diplomatic ups and downs over the prospects for an unprecedented US-North Korea summit, and the strongest sign yet that the two Koreas’ leaders are trying to keep the meeting on track, Reuters noted.

In their meeting on Saturday, Kim reaffirmed his commitment to “complete” denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and to a planned summit with Trump, Moon told reporters in Seoul.

“Chairman Kim and I have agreed that the June 12 summit should be held successfully, and that our quest for the Korean Peninsula’s denuclearization and a perpetual peace regime should not be halted,” he said.

Moon acknowledged that Pyongyang and Washington may have differing expectations of what denuclearization means, and he urged both sides to hold working-level talks to resolve their differences.

Trump on Thursday scrapped the summit after repeated threats by North Korea to pull out over what it saw as confrontational remarks by US officials demanding unilateral disarmament.

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RC

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