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Trump, Kim raise summit hopes after days of brinkmanship

31 May 2018

The fate of a peace summit between the leaders of the United States and North Korea which was originally scheduled to take place on June 12 in Singapore remains unclear after US President Donald Trump announced his intent to cancel it, even after North Korea officially shut down and demolished its primary nuclear testing site.

A top North Korean official arrived in the USA on Wednesday for the highest-level talks between the two countries on American soil in 18 years, as the Trump administration works to prepare for a summit in Singapore with the isolated regime less than two weeks from now. "The United States continues to actively prepare for President Trump's expected summit with leader Kim in Singapore". He is the highest-level representative from the North to set foot in the United States since 2000. Referring to denuclearization, Sanders said that, "as long as that is part of the discussion, we're going to focus on the June 12" date.

North Korea's mission to the United Nations in NY is its sole diplomatic presence in the United States.

Kim Jong-un's right hand man touched down on Wednesday in New York City where he was set to have dinner with the United States top diplomat, followed by further meetings on Thursday. Trump hosted South Korean President Moon Jae-in last week.

White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders confirmed the leaders still planned to meet next month.

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The White House gave no details as to when the Trump-Abe meeting might take place, but both leaders are due to attend the G7 meeting of big industrial powers that runs from June 8 to 9 in Canada.

But Trump later said he was reconsidering his position and U.S., North Korean and South Korean officials have gone ahead with summit preparations.

Kim Yong Chol, a veteran Pyongyang power player and a member of the young autocrat's inner circle, flew in on an Air China flight from Beijing, becoming the most senior North Korean official to visit the United States in 18 years.

Moscow said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov would travel to North Korea on Thursday to discuss Pyongyang's nuclear program.

He and Kim Jong Un's sister, Kim Yo Jong, were the only two officials to join the North Korean leader at the two inter-Korean summits.

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Pictures showed them shaking hands and embracing on the North Korean side of the Demilitarized Zone separating the two nations.

Their talks with North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui at the Tongilgak building on the northern side of Panmunjom kicked off Sunday.

The presidential office flatly denied the report, saying the official's trip to Singapore "has nothing to do with the North Korea-US summit or a South Korea-North Korea-US summit".

Hitoshi Tanaka, who led Japan's secret talks with North Korea in the early 2000s.

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Trump, Kim raise summit hopes after days of brinkmanship