A top aide to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived in Singapore on Monday night, Japanese public broadcaster NHK said on Tuesday, the latest indication that the on-again-off-again summit with U.S. President Donald Trump may go ahead.
South Korea's President, Moon Jae-in, gave details about his surprise meeting Saturday with Kim in the Panmunjom truce village, saying Kim had committed to sitting down with Trump and to a "complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula".
A U.S. delegation was in North Korea to prepare for a potential Trump-Kim summit, the State Department said Sunday.
The two may meet to put final touches on the preparations for the planned summit between Trump and Kim Jong-un, according to the report.
The White House was prepared to announce additional sanctions this week but held off after Trump said he was working on a potential meeting with Kim, according to The Wall Street Journal. The former USA ambassador to South Korea and current ambassador to the Philippines, led that American delegation, an American official told Reuters.
The Washington Post first reported the team, which also included Allison Hooker, the Korea expert on the White House National Security Council, met with Choe Son Hui, the North Korean vice foreign minister.
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.
Trump on Thursday scrapped the summit after repeated threats by North Korea to pull out over what it saw as confrontational remarks by United States officials demanding unilateral disarmament. Three thousand miles away in Singapore, a team of United States logistics officials arrived late Monday and was expecting the arrival of a corresponding team from Pyongyang. Howard X said his partner Dennis Alan, who impersonates Trump, will be joining him in Singapore just in time for the summit."Hey Donald, I'm already in Singapore, waiting for you to turn up", he added.
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"No matter how experienced and knowledgeable these officials are, they will not be able to change the fundamental challenge between the United States and North Korea over its status as a nuclear power".
Pentagon official Randall Schriver was part of the United States team, the official said.
When he canceled the summit, Trump said his administration's "maximum pressure campaign" of sanctions against North Korea "will continue as it has been continuing".
Pence had remarked that North Korea could wind up like Libya - a country mired in chaos since it gave up its nuclear ambitions and saw its longtime dictator killed years later by USA -backed rebels.
Earlier, Japan's Kyodo news agency quoted Abe as saying that the two leaders had agreed to cooperate to make the summit between the USA president and North Korean leader meaningful.
While admitting this option remained unlikely, Lord Hague stated Kim could agree to this plan if a formal treaty were ratified in the US Senate to provide a "security guarantee".
"But since that letter that he called this thing off last week, the North Koreans are suddenly warming to the possibility of a meeting that could be back on right now", Baldwin said.
Trump and Abe spoke Monday as American officials were in North Korea and Singapore to discuss arrangements for the prospective talks.