WASHINGTON (AP) – Rapid-fire diplomacy played out on two continents in advance of an “expected” summit between President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, the strengthening resolve coming after a series of high-risk, high-reward gambits by the two leaders.
Officials wouldn’t say that the June 12 Singapore summit was back on, but preparations on both sides of the Pacific proceeded as if it were. Two weeks of hard-nosed negotiating, including a communications blackout by the North and a public cancellation by the U.S., appeared to be paying off as the two sides engaged in their most substantive talks to date about the meeting.
Trump tweeted Tuesday that he had a “great team” working on the summit, confirming that top North Korean official Kim Yong Chol was headed to New York for talks with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. In addition, teams of U.S. officials have arrived at the Korean Demilitarized Zone and in Singapore to prepare for the meeting.
“Solid response to my letter, thank you!” tweeted Trump. He announced he had decided to “terminate” the summit last week in an open letter to Kim that stressed American military might, but also left the door cracked for future communication. White House officials characterized the letter as a negotiating tactic, designed to bring the North back to the table after a provocative statement, skipped planning talks and ignored phone calls.
South Korean media also reported that a North Korean delegation arrived in Singapore on Monday night, where other U.S. officials, led by White House deputy chief of staff Joe Hagin, are preparing for the summit.