White House aims for June 12 summit with N. Korea

By Yonhap
  • Published : May 31, 2018 - 09:32
  • Updated : May 31, 2018 - 09:32

WASHINGTON -- The United States continues to prepare for a June 12 meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the White House said Wednesday, citing "positive" feedback from working-level talks.

The on-again, off-again summit in Singapore received a boost with the arrival of a senior North Korean official in New York the same day.

Kim Yong-chol, known as the young leader's right-hand man, is due to meet with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to finalize planning for the high-stakes nuclear summit.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (left) is greeted by senior North Korean official Kim Yong-chol, director of the United Front Department, which is responsible for North-South Korea affairs, on his arrival in Pyongyang, North Korea, on May 9, 2018. (AP-Yonhap)

"The conversation is going to be focused on denuclearization of the (Korean) peninsula," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said at a regular news briefing. "As long as that is part of the discussion, we're going to continue to shoot for the June 12th and expect to do that."

Trump canceled the summit last week, citing "open hostility" from the regime.

But after a conciliatory response from the North, Trump said the meeting could still take place.

"The US delegation, led by Ambassador Sung Kim, met with North Korean officials earlier today as well, and their talks will continue," Sanders said. "So far, the readout from these meetings has been positive, and we'll continue to move forward in them."

The US ambassador's meetings on the inter-Korean border have focused on the substance of any denuclearization deal, while a separate team led by White House deputy chief of staff Joe Hagin has been meeting with North Koreans in Singapore to coordinate the logistics.

Sanders said Pompeo was in a meeting with Trump, after which the secretary of state will head to New York for dinner and a full day of meetings Thursday with the North Korean official. (Yonhap)