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U.S. officials hold talks with North Korea despite Trump-Kim summit uncertainty

28 May 2018

President Donald Trump said on Sunday a United States team was in North Korea to plan a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, raising expectations that the on-off-on meeting would indeed take place.

But South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Sunday that the reclusive North Korean leader is indeed committed to a full denuclearization of the peninsula, after the two leaders gathered in an impromptu meeting Saturday in hopes of jump-starting diplomatic talks once more.

Earlier Sunday, the US State Department said an American delegation was holding talks with North Korean officials at the Panmunjom border truce village between North and South Korea.

Both Pyongyang and Washington are pressing ahead with plans for a meeting between the two leaders in Singapore, despite Mr Trump cancelling the scheduled June 12 summit on Thursday only to reconsider the decision the next day.

Critics said Trump accomplished little with his efforts, leaving North Korea a nuclear power and handing away US leverage by agreeing to meet with Kim in the first place. "I think the president has got the North Koreans in a place that any other president might not have managed to get done", said Sen. So I think both sides have true incentives to sit down. You can tell by the last statement that North Korea released, which was very conciliatory in tone for North Korean standards, personally praising Trump himself.

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Speaking at a White House event, the president said the cancellation was a setback for North Korea and the world.

Several prominent lawmakers who appeared on Sunday talks shows said they supported the idea of a summit, if only as a step toward reducing tensions.

James R. Clapper Jr., a former director of national intelligence and a onetime senior intelligence officer for USA forces in South Korea, said he anxious that Trump may be opening the United States to demands that it scale back its strategic forces in the Pacific.

North Korean leader Kim Jon-Un attends a meeting with a committee of the Workers' Party of Korea on September 3, 2017. So we're looking at June 12th in Singapore.

Howard X also made an appearance as Kim at the Winter Olympics in Gangneung in South Korea in February, bewildering North Korean cheerleaders who initially thought their leader had walked into a hockey stadium. -North Korea talks take place.

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"They're playing a game", Rubio said of North Korea, which three months ago announced the successful testing of a complete deterrence system that includes thermonuclear warheads as well as intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of striking the US mainland.

"What is unclear to Chairman Kim Jong Un is not the will for denuclearization, but the concern that if [North Korea] denuclearizes, whether the US can end hostile relations and guarantee the security of the [Kim] regime", Moon said.

The United States has demanded the "complete, verifiable, and irreversible" dismantlement of North Korea's nuclear weapons programme.

Some credited Trump's unorthodox brand of diplomacy with helping bring North Korea to the negotiating table. "It hasn't changed. So we'll see what happens".

"A USA delegation is in ongoing talks with North Korean officials at Panmunjom".

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"This is going to be an opportunity that Japan, which has the abduction issue, should never lose", said Koichi Hagiuda, executive acting secretary general of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, in a speech in Miyazaki Prefecture, southwestern Japan.

U.S. officials hold talks with North Korea despite Trump-Kim summit uncertainty