A delegation of U.S. officials crossed into the North on Sunday to hold preparatory talks on a previously-canceled summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean Kim Jong Un, the State Department confirmed.
Reports emerged on Sunday in the Washington Post that a delegation of American officials had held talks with DPRK officials in the northern side of the inter-Korean border.
The U.S. team was being led by former United States Special Representative for North Korea Policy Sung Kim, the Post reported, while the DPRK team was led by Vice Foreign-Minister Choe Son Hui.
The news of an American delegation in the North was later confirmed by the U.S. State Department.
“A U.S. delegation is in ongoing talks with North Korean officials at Panmunjom,” spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement.
“We continue to prepare for a meeting between the president and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.”
The President later in the day said the meeting would see the two sides “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,” the President said on Twitter. “Kim Jong Un agrees with me on this. It will happen!”
The announcement sees the U.S. apparently reverse its previous cancelation of a planned meeting between Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump, slated to take place in Singapore on June 12, on Thursday.
In a letter addressed to Kim, President Trump said due to the “tremendous anger and open hostility” expressed in a recent statement, he believed it would be “inappropriate” to hold the meeting.
A North Korean statement issued in response to the news saw DPRK first vice-minister of Foreign Affairs Kim Kye Gwan say his country remained prepared to hold face-to-face talks “at any time and in any way.”
The President the following day then appeared to suggest the summit might still go ahead, telling press that “we’d like to do it… we’re going to see what happens.”
“We are having very productive talks with North Korea about reinstating the Summit which, if it does happen, will likely remain in Singapore on the same date, June 12th, and, if necessary, will be extended beyond that date,” the President later added on Twitter.
Sunday’s meeting between DPRK and U.S. officials also came a day after a surprise summit between Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
In talks held on the northern side of the Panmunjom peace village, the leaders of the two Koreas reportedly discussed “the implementation of the Panmunjom Declaration of April 27 and the successful hosting of the North-U.S. Summit,” South Korea’s Blue House said.
President Moon in a Sunday news briefing on the summit told media that working-level talks on the DPRK-U.S. summit would begin “soon.”
Featured image: File photo
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