White House team to go to Singapore for Trump-Kim summit prep

Posted May 28, 2018

While peace between the warring North and South Koreas seemed feasible just weeks ago, hesitation by North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un to dismantle their nuclear weapons arsenal has prompted the USA president to rescind his offer to host a peace summit in Singapore.

After North Korea responded to Trump's cancelation letter by sending a conciliatory note in which it said it was "willing to sit down with the United States any time, in any format, to resolve the problems", President Trump told reporters that his meeting with Kim could be rescheduled, or might still take place on June 12, repeating that point on Twitter.

The two leaders met from 3 p.m.to 5 p.m.at Tongilgak, the North's building in Panmunjeom, which straddles the North-South border.

At Saturday's meeting, the two leaders also discussed a successful implementation of the inter-Korean "Panmunjom Declaration".

The South Korean president has met with the North's leader Kim Jong un to discuss Kim's possible upcoming summit with the U-S President.

Last month's summit marked the first meeting between North and South Korean leaders in a decade.

While expressing regret over the cancellation of the Trump-Kim summit, President Moon has called for the two countries' leaders to communicate directly to rekindle the momentum for denuclearization talks.

Trump called off the meeting Thursday, but has continued to suggest that the meeting could still occur later - or even on June 12, as had been originally planned.

US defense and intelligence officials have repeatedly assessed the North to be on the threshold of having the capability to strike anywhere in the continental USA with a nuclear-tipped missile - a capacity that Trump and other US officials have said they would not tolerate. Pentagon official Randall Schriver was part of the USA team, the official said. Donald Trump said that he was calling the much-anticipated meeting off, citing "tremendous anger and open hostility".

It also said Kim and Moon agreed to hold high-level talks between their two nations on June 1, and to take steps to quickly implement their efforts to denuclearize the peninsula.

However, even if they solve the communications issues, they need to overcome a major sticking point: the United States insists that Pyongyang must completely denuclearize.

Trump, in a morning tweet, hailed Pyongyang's statement, saying, "Very good news to receive the warm and productive statement from North Korea". The two had signed the three-page agreement at their earlier meeting, stating at the time that "South and North Korea confirmed the common goal of realizing, through complete denuclearization, a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula".

Tensions were calmed after Kim extended an olive branch by offering to send a delegation to the Winter Olympics in South Korea, sparking a sudden detente that led to Trump agreeing to hold direct talks with Pyongyang.

- Kim and I promise each other full and close bilateral cooperation to ensure an undisrupted journey toward permanent peace.

Pelosi said the meeting "takes preparation, this takes knowledge, this takes judgment, and clearly it takes preparation, which the president didn't make".

The previous two summits were held in 2000 and 2007 in Pyongyang.