The White House said Monday a planned summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is ‘expected’ to happen – in the latest iteration of the on-again, off-again high stakes meeting.
The qualifier came in the form of a statement where the White House said Trump would meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in advance of the highly anticipated one-on-one meeting.
Trump last week announced he was pulling out of it, only to have the meeting get back on track following a conciliatory response from the north and a spontaneous meeting between Kim Jong-un and his South Korean counterpart.
Trump spoke to Abe Monday about a range of issues, and the two will meet before the ‘expected meeting,’ the statement said.
President Donald Trump speaks at Arlington National Cemetery as part of Memorial Day observance, Arlington, Virginia, U.S., May 28, 2018. The White House says he plans to meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe before a planned North Korea summit
The leaders are scheduled to attend the G7 meeting major industrialized nations June 8 in Canada, giving them a possible venue to meet.
The call came a day after a small team of U.S. negotiators crossed the DMZ to begin preparations with the North Koreans for the summit. An advance team is also in Singapore, where the talks are scheduled to occur.
The White House said Trump and Abe discussed their shared goal of achieving ‘the complete and permanent dismantlement of North Korea’s nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and ballistic missile programs.’
Abe said the leaders agreed to cooperate to make the Trump-Kim summit ‘meaningful,’ Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported, according to Fox News.
Participants of the ‘Launch Event Women’s Entrepreneur Finance Initiative’, among them (L-R) Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, US President Donald Trump,, the daughter of the US President Ivanka Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attend the ‘Women’s Entrepreneurship,Finance Event’ at the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 8, 2017. Trump spoke with Abe by phone on Monday
In this file photo taken on April 17, 2018, US President Donald Trump greets Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Alexei Nikolsky/Planet Pix via ZUMA Wire/REX/Shutterstock (9694544p) Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomes Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, right, prior to a bilateral meeting in the Kremlin Grand Palace May 26, 2018 in Moscow
The U.S. wants the hermetic dictatorship to agree to immediate denuclearization, and the two sides appear to be far apart on that issue.
The call came amid a whirlwind of activity over the possible June 12 summit in Singapore.
Trump pulled out of the meeting Kim Jong-un last week, but then said a day later that it could get back on track. The White House’s latest characterization of the meeting as ‘expected’ appears to be a further sign that it could go ahead.
According to the White House: ‘The two leaders discussed recent developments in North Korea and confirmed they would meet again to continue close coordination in advance of the expected meeting between the United States and North Korea.’
The statement continued: ‘The President and Prime Minister affirmed the shared imperative of achieving the complete and permanent dismantlement of North Korea’s nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and ballistic missile programs.’
U.S. officials worked with North Korea over the weekend on plans for the on-off-on meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, as Trump continued to signal optimism for the sit-down.
Trump tweeted Sunday that a U.S. team was in North Korea to work on the possible summit. Another delegation was in Singapore to discuss logistics. On Monday, the White House said Trump had spoken with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe about the North Korea efforts, adding that the two planned to meet before the ‘expected meeting’ with Kim to coordinate strategy.
In this May 26, 2018 photo provided on May 27, 2018, by South Korea Presidential Blue House, South Korean President Moon Jae-in writes on a visitor’s book as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, stands at the northern side of Panmunjom in North Korea
Trump withdrew from the planned June 12 summit in Singapore last Thursday, but quickly announced it could still happen. The president’s Sunday tweet offered praise for the longtime U.S. adversary, another signal that his concerns about the North’s stance toward the summit had been allayed.
‘Our United States team has arrived in North Korea to make arrangements for the Summit between Kim Jong Un and myself,’ he tweeted Sunday. ‘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!’
Both the State Department and South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said the American and North Korean officials have been engaged in talks at the Korean village of Panmunjom, which straddles the border inside the Demilitarized Zone, or DMZ. The border can be crossed simply by stepping across a painted line, but moving beyond several footsteps into the North at Panmunjom would be rare for U.S. officials.
LETS TALK: US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim looks inside a Cessna-208B Grand Caravan Intelligence, Surveillance and Recoinnaissance (ISR) aircraft acquired through grant programmes by the the US government to the Philippine Air Force (PAF) during a formal turn-over ceremony at the PAF headquarters in Manila on July 27, 2017
Choe Son-hui, Head of the North America Department of North Korea’s Foreign Ministry, issued a statement calling Vice President Mike Pence a ‘political dummy’ and slammed him for ‘ignorant and stupid remarks.’ Here she arrives at the 2017 Moscow Nonproliferation Conference at the Centre for Energy and Security Studies.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in gave details about his surprise meeting Saturday with Kim in Panmunjom, saying Kim had committed to sitting down with Trump and to a ‘complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.’
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tapped veteran American diplomat Sung Kim, the U.S. ambassador to the Philippines, to handle pre-summit negotiations. On a separate but complementary track was the CIA team Pompeo set up last year when he headed the spy agency. And on a third track was a White House logistical group sent to Singapore on Sunday to prepare in case the summit takes place. It was led by Joe Hagin, White House deputy chief of staff for operations.
The Korean leaders’ second summit in a month saw bear hugs and broad smiles. But their quickly arranged meeting appeared to highlight a sense of urgency on both sides of the world’s most heavily armed border.
The talks, which Moon said Kim requested, capped a whirlwind 24 hours of diplomatic back and forth. They allowed Moon to push for a U.S.-North Korean summit, which he sees as the best way to ease the animosity that had some fearing a war last year.
Kim may see a meeting with Trump as necessary to easing pressure from crushing sanctions and to winning security assurances in a region surrounded by enemies.
Moon told reporters that Kim said he’s willing to cooperate to end confrontation and work toward peace for the sake of the successful summit with Trump.
President Donald Trump has announced the summit with North Korea will take place as planned on June 12 in Singapore
Moon said he told Kim that Trump has a ‘firm resolve’ to end hostile relations with North Korea and initiate economic cooperation if Kim implements ‘complete denuclearization.’
‘What Kim is unclear about is that he has concerns about whether his country can surely trust the United States over its promise to end hostile relations (with North Korea) and provide a security guarantee if they do denuclearization,’ Moon said.
‘During the South Korea-U.S. summit, President Trump said the U.S. is willing to clearly put an end to hostile relations (between the U.S. and North Korea) and help (the North) achieve economic prosperity if North Korea conducts denuclearization,’ he said.
Kim, in a dispatch issued by the North’s state-run news service earlier Sunday, ‘expressed his fixed will’ on a North Korea-U.S. summit.
During Saturday’s inter-Korean summit, the Korean leaders agreed to ‘positively cooperate with each other as ever to improve (North Korea)-U.S. relations and establish (a) mechanism for permanent and durable peace.’
They agreed to have their top officials meet again June 1. Moon said military generals and Red Cross officials from the Koreas will also meet separately to discuss how to ease military tensions and resume reunions of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.
US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, who previously served as a nuclear negotiator with the North Koreans, has crossed into North Korean territory in advance of a possible summit
Choe Son-hui, Head of the North America Department of North Korea’s Foreign Ministry, issued a statement calling Vice President Mike Pence a ‘political dummy’ and slammed him for ‘ignorant and stupid remarks’
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Joshua Holt, who was recently released from a prison in Venezuela, in the Oval Office of the White House, Saturday, May 26, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
In this May 26, 2018 photo provided on May 27, 2018, by South Korea Presidential Blue House, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, left, shake hands before their meeting at the northern side of Panmunjom in North Korea. Moon said Sunday, May 27, that Kim committed in the rivals’ surprise meeting to sitting down with President Donald Trump and to a ‘complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.’ The Korean leaders’ second summit in a month Saturday, May 26, saw bear hugs and broad smiles, but their quickly arranged meeting appears to highlight a sense of urgency on both sides of the world’s most heavily armed border. (South Korea Presidential Blue House via AP)
South Korean President Moon Jae-in, center, shakes hands with a journalist afte a press conference at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, Sunday, May 27, 2018. Moon said Sunday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un committed in the rivals’ surprise meeting Saturday to sitting down with U.S. President Donald Trump in a summit and to a ‘complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.’ (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
South Korean President Moon Jae-in speaks during a press conference at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, Sunday, May 27, 2018. Moon said Sunday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un committed in the rivals’ surprise meeting Saturday to sitting down with U.S. President Donald Trump in a summit and to a ‘complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.’ (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)