Trump ramps up pressure to get North Korea summit on track

Alex Brandon  AP

A top aide to the North Korean leader has arrived in Singapore in the latest indication that the on-again-off-again summit with United States president Donald Trump is going ahead.

The US has chose to push back additional planned sanctions against North Korea as the countries progress on talks of a future summit between Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump.

File Picture: South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un leave after their summit at the truce village of Panmunjom, North Korea, in this handout picture provided by the Presidential Blue House on May 26, 2018.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in could also be going to Singapore next month for a three-way summit with his US and North Korean counterparts next month, a government official in Seoul said on Monday.

At their first meeting on April 27, Kim and Moon first announced "complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula" and permanent peace, which Seoul has tried to sell as a meaningful breakthrough to set up the summit with Trump.

The White House said over the weekend that a separate team of officials was also on its way to Singapore, to lay the groundwork for a meeting.

Sung Kim, a former ambassador to South Korea who has also negotiated with North Korea over its weapons program, is heading the USA team in the Hermit Kingdom.

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"I truly believe North Korea has brilliant potential and will be a great economic and financial Nation one day".

Trump confirmed in a tweet that the team of advisories are in the secretive state to "make arrangements for the Summit between Kim Jong Un and myself". Trump, who has since teased that the summit might still happen, tweeted about the diplomatic efforts in North Korea late Sunday afternoon, expressing his optimism that the USA team's arrangements will pan out.

Kim Yong-chol sat just metres away from Trump's daughter Ivanka at the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang in February - one of the first signs of a diplomatic thaw between North Korea and the US and South Korea after tensions over its nuclear weapons reached a breaking point.

Sung King crossed the border between South and North Korea to meet with North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui, the report said.

The Trump administration has demanded that North Korea completely and irreversibly shut its nuclear weapons program.

"For him, the permanent presence of United States forces thousands of miles from home is a curse and a burden, and it is time other countries looked after their own security".

In the Oval Office Saturday, Trump said the preparations were underway, and going well.

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"There are meetings going on as we speak", he said.

"But let's be clear - twice before North Korea under Kim Jong-un's father committed to full denuclearization in six party talks in 2005, in 2007 ... only to then change their tune", Mr. Coons said on "Fox News Sunday".

Kim, a Seoul-born career diplomat fluent in Korean, previously served as the US special representative for North Korea policy and deputy assistant secretary for Korea and Japan.

Together with the United States, it has stressed the need for North Korea to dismantle all weapons of mass destruction and missiles in a complete, verifiable and irreversible way.

"We're seeing a positive start to the week just because of that North Korea flip", said Nick Twidale, chief operating officer of Rakuten Securities' Australian unit. South Korea and China account for nearly all of North Korea's land borders, so their support is essential for enforcing sanctions ramped up past year after Kim declared the ability to strike the USA with a nuclear weapon.

But North Korean state media subsequently reported on Kim's "fixed will" that a summit with Trump should go ahead.

Moon reiterated a goal to hold a trilateral summit with both Trump and Kim to officially end the Korean War if their meeting is successful.

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