Delegation Is In Talks With North Korea, According To The State Department

Kim Jong-un committed to complete denuclearisation, says Moon Jae-in after North-South 'surprise' summit
Trump sounds upbeat about North Korea summit

01 June, 2018

He is scheduled to meet Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday, according to US officials familiar with the planning.

To reaffirm his commitment to denuclearization and his willingness to meet with Trump, Kim held a surprise second summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on the inter-Korean border last Saturday.

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.

At the same time, a "pre-advance" USA team was in Singapore to meet North Koreans.

United States negotiators, headed by Washington's current ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, met with North Korean counterparts in the truce village of Panmunjom that divides the two Koreas on Sunday.

It suggests Kim is interested in a peaceful gesture to an American president whose love of fast-food burgers is well known - and who, during the 2016 campaign, had said he wanted to talk nukes over a burger with the North Korean leader.

John Bolton, Trump's national security adviser, has had calls with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts "virtually every day", and these calls have been ongoing over the last couple of weeks, Sanders added.

The diplomacy in advance of the summit has had highs and lows, including Trump backing away from the meeting, then saying it could still happen in Singapore on June 12, as initially scheduled.

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Both sides have been eager to hold the meeting after tensions flared a year ago over North Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile tests.

Since then, North Korea has rejected US demands for it to unilaterally abandon its nuclear program, which experts say could threaten the United States. But there are lingering doubts on whether Kim will ever fully relinquish his nuclear arsenal, which he may see as his only guarantee of survival in a region surrounded by enemies.

The general has always been a right hand man to North Korea's leader, playing a front-seat role during recent rounds of diplomacy aimed at ending the nuclear stalemate on the Korean peninsula.

On Sunday Sung Kim, a former USA ambassador to South Korea and current ambassador to the Philippines, led a delegation to talks on the substance of the summit with North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui. He later reversed his position, voicing eagerness to still hold the summit as planned on June 12 in Singapore.

Kim Yong Chol is a vice chairman of the North Korean ruling party's central committee.

He sat next to Trump's daughter Ivanka, who is also a White House aide, during the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics in the South Korean resort of Pyeongchang which was a turning point in the nuclear crisis. Jo, who died in 2010, remains the highest-level North Korean official to visit the United States since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. Sanders said Trump will host Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan on June 7th to coordinate their thinking ahead of the summit. Ministry spokesman Noh Kyu-duk also did not say whether Seoul knew of any US plans regarding Kim Yong Chol's visit, such as whether he and Pompeo would meet.

"He also expressed his intention to put an end to the history of war and confrontation through the success of the North-US summit and to cooperate for peace and prosperity", Moon told reporters on Sunday.

While there have been a few instances in which countries were persuaded to abandon their nuclear ambitions in exchange for sanctions relief and compensation, none of the cases are directly applicable to North Korea, which has advanced its nukes further and with greater zeal than any of the others.

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