Trump confirms US officials in North Korea over summit planning

Washington: US President Donald Trump has confirmed that a team of American officials arrived in North Korea to organise the planned summit between him and Kim Jong-un, after he officially cancelled the meeting last week and then appeared to retract that move.

“Our US team has arrived in North Korea to make arrangements for the Summit between Kim Jong-un and myself. I truly believe North Korea has brilliant potential and will be a great economic and financial Nation one day,” Trump tweeted late Sunday. “Kim Jong-un agrees with me on this. It will happen!” he added.

Trump’s confirmation of the arrival of the US team in Pyongyang comes hours after The Washington Post reported the diplomatic mission, reports Efe news.

According to The Post, Sung Kim, a former US ambassador in South Korea and former nuclear negotiator with North Korea, crossed the inter-Korean border to meet with Choe Son Hui, a senior diplomat in Pyongyang’s Foreign Ministry.

Last week, Trump sent a letter to Kim cancelling the historic meeting, but over the weekend he said in remarks to reporters in the Oval Office that his administration was continuing to work to ensure that the summit occurs as originally planned on June 12 in Singapore.

The US official and Choe have already been part of the delegations that negotiated the 2005 denuclearisation agreement in which Pyongyang, under the leadership of Kim Jong-il, the current leader’s father, promised to abandon all its nuclear weapons programs.

The Washington Post, citing a person familiar with the negotiations, said that those talks will continue near the Demilitarized Zone until Tuesday.

The US delegation also includes Allison Hooker, with the US National Security Council, and an official with the Defence Department.

If it occurs, the Trump-Kim summit will be the first between US and North Korean leaders after almost 70 years of enmity and confrontation since the start of the 1950-1953 Korean War and more than a quarter century of failed negotiations.