Diplomatic Duels: What Now for the Trump-Kim Summit?

Geneva Stokes
May 29, 2018

The summit is expected to take place in Singapore on June 12.

US officials traveled to North Korea on Sunday to discuss the upcoming summit which President Trump abruptly canceled on Thursday.

The meeting was thrown into doubt after Mr Trump pulled out last week.

The two countries, as well as South Korea, have since worked to reschedule the meeting, with the White House this weekend sending a team of US officials to Singapore to meet with North Koreans and prepare should the summit go forward.

"I truly believe North Korea has brilliant potential and will be a great economic and financial Nation one day", Trump wrote.

The Trump administration is demanding that North Korea completely and irreversibly dismantle its nuclear weapons programme. But less than 24 hours later, Trump said the June 12 meeting would still be possible.

His entry caused such a stir plain-clothed officials from South Korea's National Counter-terrorism Centre were forced to step in and move him away from the North's cheerleaders who were sitting nearby.

According to the State Department, the US team met with North Korean officials at the same DMZ site, the village of Panmunjom. Mr Moon called the gathering a meaningful attempt to clear up "some difficulties in communication" as the two leaders shared warm words on the northern side of their border. Analysts said the pressure from the top makes a meeting more likely.

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"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".

Despite Kim's apparent eagerness for a summit with Trump, there are lingering doubts about whether he will fully relinquish his nuclear weapons, which he may see as his only guarantee of survival.

The details of such a plan, however, remain in question. Trump, who has since teased that the summit might still happen, tweeted about the diplomatic efforts in North Korea late Sunday afternoon, expressing his optimism that the USA team's arrangements will pan out. That often takes months if not years of work and planning. A similar, painstaking process yielded the Iran nuclear deal which Trump derided and withdrew from last month. I think people want to see if we can get the meeting and get something done. "And we'll be here satirizing the whole situation", said Howard. "They are going to be best friends right after this meeting".

White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations Joe Hagin leads the U.S. delegation, while Kim Chang-son, a senior official at the State Affairs Commission, represents the North. He then suggested a day later that the meeting was still possibly in the cards.

The South Korean news agency, Yonhap, clarified that the official who would be representing North Korea is Kim Chang Son, Kim Jong Un's acting chief-of-staff.

Here's where we stand with what could be a historic meeting. Also under discussion are the composition of delegations from each side, and the level of press access to the summit should it occur.

Hooker was also a part of a US delegation led by Ivanka Trump, daughter of the president and his senior adviser, that attended the closing ceremony of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics at the end of February.

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