North Korea officials hold talks ahead of Trump-Kim summit

North Korea officials hold talks ahead of Trump-Kim summit

North Korea officials hold talks ahead of Trump-Kim summit

South Korea was caught off guard by Trump's abrupt cancellation of his summit with Kim, with the US president citing hostility in recent North Korean comments.

Kim reaffirmed his commitment to "complete" denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and to a planned meeting with Trump, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Sunday.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Saturday that the "pre-advance team for Singapore will leave as scheduled in order to prepare should the summit take place".

President Trump welcomed the "warm" statement from Pyongyang, having later announced over Twitter that the United States was involved in "very productive" negotiations with North Korea about resuming the summit.

He also said that he hopes to follow up the US-North Korea summit with a Seoul-Pyongyang-Washington summit to discuss declaring the end of the Korean War. "That hasn't changed. It's moving along pretty well, so we'll see what happens", Trump told reporters at the White House during a meeting with a U.S. prisoner freed by Venezuela.

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The official says the North also reneged on a pledge to allow global inspectors to monitor the supposed demolition of its nuclear test site Thursday.

The South Korean president called on both sides to hold working-level talks that may help resolve these differences.

Ahead of their first meeting last month, Kim and Moon established a hotline that they said would enable direct communication between the leaders and would be valuable to defuse crises, but it was unclear whether it was used to set up the latest meeting.

"We need to show China that we have political will and that we will not allow them to mess with Iran sanctions, North Korea sanctions, you name it", Chang said. "The road to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and peace will never be easy", he said.

But the U.S. president, after his surprise press announcement on Thursday that he was calling off the summit, said on Friday that he was still open to the idea of meeting Kim.

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The team was led by Sung Kim, a former ambassador to South Korea, who was to hold talks with North Korean Vice-Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui, the newspaper said. At that meeting, they declared they would work toward a nuclear-free Korean peninsula and a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War. The atmosphere was "just like an ordinary meeting between friends" and the two held "candid talks", Moon said. "South Korea summit, President Trump clearly emphasised that we may see not only the end of hostile relations but also economic cooperation if North Korea denuclearises", Mr. Moon said.

The meeting looked to be dead in the water after Mr Trump called it off last week but he has now indicated preparations are continuing behind the scenes.

The meeting would be the culmination of diplomatic efforts that began this year to try to defuse what had threatened to become a military confrontation between the nuclear-armed communist North and the South and its U.S. ally.

The visit by the United States delegation was first reported by the Washington Post later on Sunday.

Moon also said that he urged the USA and North Korea to hold direct talks, adding that for Kim, uncertainties lie in whether the U.S. will guarantee his regime.

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Saturday's summit marked the fourth meeting between the leaders of the two Koreas since they were divided at the end of the World War II in 1945.

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