A U.S. delegation met Sunday with North Korean officials at Panmunjom, on the border between North and South Korea in a clear show that the planned summit between the two countries may still take place.
Despite President Donald Trump’s decision last Thursday to pull out of the summit scheduled for June 12, the latest developments clearly indicate he has reconsidered his decision. Late on Sunday, he tweeted that the U.S. delegation had 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. Kim Jong-un agrees with me on this. It will happen!”
Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said that the delegation is negotiating with the North Koreans in Panmunjom, a village in the Demilitarized Zone at the border between the North and the South.
“We continue to prepare for a meeting between the President and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un,” she added in a statement.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said a “pre-advance team” left for Singapore on Sunday morning to work on logistics for a possible summit. South Korean President Moon Jae-in said he and the North Korean leader agreed Saturday the meeting has to take place.
“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,” Moon said.
The U.S. team, including Pentagon official Randall Schriver and Allison Hooker, the Korea expert on the White House National Security Council, met with North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui on Sunday and the meeting is expected to continue on Monday and Tuesday.
According to the South Korean president, Kim reaffirmed Sunday his commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Moon is also likely to Join Trump and Kim Jong-un for their summit where he would most likely act as mediator.
However, talks between the two leaders may prove difficult due to the different understandings of the term “denuclearization,” CNBC writes. While Washington insists on significant steps toward complete denuclearization, Pyongyang prefers a gradual process of disarmament that goes hand-in-hand with U.S. economic and security concessions.